An editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal praises the equalizing quality of Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) plan to give every family in America a $5,000 tax credit to buy health insurance in the individual insurance market:
The McCain plan does not raise taxes, nor does it lower them. Instead, it takes the existing system of tax subsidies and treats everyone alike, regardless of income or job status….For the first time, low- and moderate-income families would get just as much tax relief as the very rich when they purchase health insurance.
But treating “everyone alike” is exactly the problem. Indeed, under McCain’s plan the sick and the not-yet sick, the poor and the wealthy would all receive a one-size-fits-all tax credit, regardless of their health history or income status.
Warren Buffet would collect the same $5,000 as his secretary. A chronically ill older patient, who requires more care or more expensive care, would obtain the same amount for health care as a younger and healthier American.
For poorer Americans, McCain’s credit would be like a five foot rope for a ten foot hole. A $5,000 tax credit for a low income family is not enough to cover the average price of an insurance policy (approximately $14,000) and would leave many poor families — who are unable to make up the difference in premium costs — without insurance.