I was going to discuss why I don’t think the STAAR Act is particularly useful for combating antibiotic resistance, but McCain’s healthcare plan is so ridiculously stupid, it requires comment.
McCain’s proposal would give a five thousand dollar tax credit to every household to pay for healthcare. (It’s not clear how this would lead to the claimed $3.6 trillion in savings, since we ‘only’ pay $2 trillion annually for healthcare). The ultimate goal is to move away from an employer-based system. That means, in plain English, McCain’s ultimate goal is that you will have to pay the entire cost of your healthcare–something McCain’s people are trying to finesse.
For me, I would probably come out slightly ahead (around $950). Currently, I pay $188/month, and my employer pays $308/month, for a total of $496/month. Keep in mind that I’m a single, healthy guy (I don’t have the most expensive healthcare option)–I’ll get to family coverage in a bit. Doing all of the arithmetic, after McCain’s $5,000 credit, I would pay $952 annually instead of $1624.32 (currently, I get back 28% of the amount I pay–$2,256–as a tax refund). Now, let’s consider a family.
For the same healthcare plan, a family pays $500/month and my employer picks up roughly $750/month, for a total of $15,000 per year. Currently, that family pays $4,320 annually (don’t forget the tax deduction). Under McCain’s plan, that family would have to pay $10,000.
Even if prices were to drop–and that’s a big if–it’s hard to see how they could drop to recoup the cost. And as Hilzoy and Jonathan Cohn both point out, if you have an existing condition, the ability to shop for a new insurance plan is limited at best.
The crazy thing about the healthcare debate is that this isn’t like trying to figure out how to go to the moon in 1961: other countries have figured out how to provide high quality healthcare far more efficiently to all of their citizens. We could just take the French plan, translate it, and slap a big, old U.S. of A. on the cover.
I’m only half kidding about the last bit.
On the other hand, the McCain plan is a great incentive to avoid getting married and having kids….