After Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) implied that he may support rationing veterans health care, veterans organizations from around the country criticized the senator for suggesting that the Veterans Association should “concentrate our efforts to handle those wounds and disabilities that are directly the result of combat.” Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, said McCain “appears to want to significantly narrow the number of veterans who can use VA, and that would alarm many veterans”:
[Veterans] should be very concerned by any effort to restrict access to VA health care and benefits by excluding other veterans with medical conditions clearly linked with their military service, such as illnesses related to Agent Orange poisoning, injures incurred in the combat zone, injuries due to training, and the adverse side effects of vaccines and experimental drugs.
But McCain’s comments, while worthy of denunciation, are not surprising. On the contrary, rationing health care is the foundation of McCain’s health care philosophy. His plan to replace the current tax breaks for employer-sponsored health insurance with a one-size-fits-all tax credit would leave many Americans with pre-existing conditions or fixed incomes without health care coverage.
In short, McCain’s plan provides health care insurance to the healthy and wealthy and leaves millions without coverage:
- By 2013, 16 million Americans would lose the health benefits they get from their employers.
- In 2013, there would be 55 million without insurance, 8 million more than today.
- The 56 million Americans with pre-existing conditions would not be able to find health insurance in the individual market and would have to turn to inefficient and expensive state-run high-risk pools.
UPDATE: Watch the video of McCain’s remarks: