Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is having a hard time finding anyone who agrees with his health care policy. While the campaign claims that McCain’s health care plan “relies on the traditional source of health insurance, which is employers,” analylses by The Tax Policy Center, Health Affairs, and Commonwealth Fund, conclude that under McCain’s proposal to shift more Americans into the individual health insurance market, “the health care cards that you get from your employer, that you keep in your wallet, is at risk.”
At least 20 million Americans could lose their employer-provided coverage, but McCain won’t be one of them. As a member of the senate, McCain receives his health care through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP), a health insurance exchange in which “federal employees across the country must use their employer-provided contributions to buy plans selected through the federal government.”
The program allows the senator to tailor his government-funded health insurance to meet his unique needs, and “choose from among Fee-for-Service (FFS) plans, and their Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO), or Plans offering a Point of Service (POS) Product, or Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO).”
In fact, McCain probably pays less for health insurance than someone covered under his health insurance plan.
“Currently, the FEHBP plan with the highest enrollment is the Blue Cross Blue Shield Standard Plan option.” This most popular FEDBP option has significantly lower deductibles and co-payments than a comparable plan in the individual market:
- $300: FEHBP Deductible.
- $2,750: Individual Market Deductible.
- $15: FEHBP Co-Payment.
- $29-$37: Individual Market Co-payment.
Admittedly, individual insurance market plans “often have low premiums” — but their high deductibles and other cost-sharking lead to much higher out-of-pocket spending. One analysis of McCain’s plan concluded that his proposal would “lead to reductions in the comprehensiveness of coverage in that market through deregulation, and encourage employer-based coverage to become less generous as well. These changes would have the effect of shifting costs from insurance premiums toward out-of-pocket payments, and people with chronic or acute illnesses would likely incur much higher out-of-pocket health care costs than they do now.”
As Elizabeth Edwards has pointed out, McCain would not be able to find coverage under his own plan. Unfortunately, he also wants Americans to pay more for health care than he does.