Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a senior policy adviser to Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) presidential campaign, “remains unemployed — and his COBRA health coverage is running out,” the Washington Post reports. “Irony of ironies, it gets worse. Holtz-Eakin, who is about to start shopping for insurance on the individual market, is 51. And he has one of those pesky ‘preexisting conditions’ that insurance companies often cite in denying coverage”:
Holtz-Eakin said he’s been paying about $1,000 a month to extend the private health insurance he received on McCain’s campaign through the government’s COBRA program, but that will expire in a few months. This is the first time in his life he has not had employer-provided health coverage. “I worry about where I go next in the way many Americans do,” he said.
During the campaign, Holtiz-Eakin fervently defended McCain’s proposal to shift more Americans out of their employer-sponsored coverage and into the individual health insurance market, where approximately “73 percent of the adults who tried to buy insurance” “never bought a plan — because they could not afford it, could not find a plan that met their needs, or were turned down.”
“The key to real reform is to restore control over our health-care system to the patients themselves,” Holtz-Eakin insisted in August. “Instead of only getting it in the employer market, you would get it regardless of your source of insurance. And you get the same amount whether you’re rich or poor, $5,000 for every working family.”
As the campaign came to a close, however, Holtz-Eakin did acknowledge that “what they are getting from their employer is way better than what they could get with the credit” that McCain would have offered to encourage individuals to leave employer-sponsored plans. Holtz-Eakin conceded that McCain’s health care tax credit wouldn’t cover the entire cost of a comprehensive health plan and would only allow some Americans to buy insurance in the individual market.
If Holtz-Eakin is able to enroll in an individual health insurance policy, he is likely to spend more on health insurance coverage. While Holtz-Eakin’s monthly premium may be lower than what he’s paying now, he will probably spend far more on out of pocket health expenses.