What You Need To Know About McCain’s Health Care Speech Today

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) released additional details of his health care plan today. In terms of key principles, there was nothing new. Sen. McCain is still not concerned about achieving universal coverage, and he continues to want to put a greater burden on individuals to take on health insurance companies by themselves and hope that they can get needed care.

Today, the Center for American Progress Action Fund released two new analyses of the McCain plan (you can read the whole reports here and here). The only two key things you need to know are the numbers 158 million and 56 million:

158 million is the number of people who could lose their existing health care coverage under the McCain plan. McCain believes that individuals should find health insurance by themselves, and he will give them a small tax credit to help cover the cost. To pay for this, McCain ends the tax break given to those who purchase insurance from their employer today. This means that all 158 million people with employer-sponsored coverage today could eventually be forced to find a new health plan.

56 million is the number of people who are at risk of not getting health insurance at all under the McCain plan because of their chronic condition. The individual market is notorious for denying coverage to those with preexisting conditions. By creating a system that tries to push people towards individual coverage, McCain’s plan could leave out in the cold the 56 million Americans with employer insurance who have one or more chronic diseases like hypertension, arthritis, and asthma.


Overall, the McCain plan today was just more of the same old conservative rhetoric. His promises to help cover those with pre-existing conditions have turned out to be empty. The McCain plan still doesn’t help cancer patients like Elizabeth Edwards. Far from improving health care, John McCain will only make it much worse.