The Value of McCain’s Health Care Tax Credit = One Designer Jacket

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

The centerpiece of John McCain’s health care plan is a tax credit worth $2,500 for individuals. By coincidence, in her speech at the RNC two weeks ago, Gov. Sarah Palin wore a jacket designed by Valentino Garavani that cost $2,500.

Admittedly, McCain’s health care tax credit is worth more than most jackets. The problem is that it’s worth far less than the cost of health care for most Americans.

Individuals paid an average of $4,400 for health care in 2007 – nearly twice the value of McCain’s credit. For families, McCain’s credit is $5,000 – which covers less than half of the $12,000 the average American family paid for health care in 2007.

And unlike Gov. Palin’s jacket, McCain’s credits are not tailored. They are one-size-fits-all. So if you’re healthy, you should be in good shape. But if you are sick, have a pre-existing condition, or endure a medical emergency, once you exceed the value of the credit you are on your own.

Which is why many health care experts agree than McCain’s health care plan boils down to this: don’t get sick.