What’s On The Table? McCain Adviser Pledges To Trim Health Benefits

In an exchange with the Dallas Morning News, McCain health policy adviser John Goodman admitted that McCain’s plan to give families $5,000 to buy health insurance would drive Americans into scantier coverage:

The tax credit “would not subsidize bells and whistles [marriage counseling, acupuncture, etc.] as the current system does,” Mr. Goodman said in an e-mail.

Goodman’s comments echo the McCain campaign’s false ‘caviar health care’ argument — which compares “Americans’ use of the health care system to shoppers who indiscriminately buy caviar while someone else foots the bill” — and fundamentally misrepresent the causes of rising health care costs.

Despite the campaign’s insistence that an over-reliance on “marriage counseling” and “acupuncture” is driving-up health care costs, the fact remains that 80 percent of the health care costs “are incurred by the sickest twenty percent of Americans, those whose doctors order expensive treatments for difficult diseases such as cancer” — “acupuncture” or “marriage counseling” are rarely prescribed.


In fact, with family insurance premiums exceeding $12,000, it’s unclear which services Goodman would be willing to trim to get to $5,000. Which half should go? Wellness and prevention programs? Cancer screening and testing? Maternity care?

But with McCain, “everything is on the table.”