Harry and Louise Tip Their Hand: ‘Friend’ Would Not Get Coverage Under McCain’s Plan

Our guest blogger is Adam Jentleson, the Communications and Outreach Director for the Hyde Park Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

In their new ad, Harry and Louise – older and more mature than they were in 1993 – seem to go to great pains to stay neutral and avoid favoring either candidate’s position on health care. But despite their efforts to stay neutral, their new ad reveals one of the glaring flaws in John McCain’s radical health care plan.

In the ad, Harry mentions a friend who was recently diagnosed with cancer, but doesn’t have insurance. Under McCain’s plan, this “friend” would find it extremely difficult, even impossible, to get coverage.

Watch it:

Because his employer doesn’t cover him, the friend Harry describes has to shop for health care on the individual market, where he is at the mercy of the insurance companies. Under McCain’s plan, he would stay there, but he would have even less leverage to negotiate a fair deal for himself than he does now – because McCain’s plan would de-regulate the individual market, and give the insurance companies even greater leeway to deny people coverage or hike up their premiums even more.

Under McCain’s plan, the only option for Harry and Louise’s friend would be a high-risk pool – but in practice, high-risk pools have proven woefully ineffective at meeting the needs of people with cancer and other Americans in desperate need of care.

The friend in this ad may be fictional, but his crisis is not. In fact, there are 56 million Americans with chronic conditions who would be at risk of losing their coverage under McCain’s plan, and finding themselves in the exact same situation. Those 56 million Americans are very real – and so is the crisis they could face under John McCain’s health care plan.