McCain vs. Obama on healthcare reform

November 3, 2008 4:58:37 AM PST
Just one trip to the hospital could cause many Americans to sink into debt. Healthcare costs are rising and so is the number of uninsured Americans.

Both Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama have plans to fix the healthcare system. We went to Dr. David Nash to get the details. He's an unbiased expert and dean of Jefferson's School of Health Policy and Population Health.

Nash said the main difference between the candidates plans is HOW people get insurance.

Right now, 70-percent of insured Americans get coverage through their employer The Republican platform wants to change that, hoping to create more competition and therefore lower costs. "They feel if you get your health insurance through your source of employment you don't really have an economic incentive to go shopping for a better deal," Nash said.

So Senator McCain wants to tax families who get insurance through their employer and give a $5,000 tax credit to families buying their own private insurance.

"My health care plan will make it easier for more Americans to find and keep good health care insurance," Senator McCain said while on the campaign trail.

Senator Obama wants to expand employer-based health insurance, hoping to get more people covered. His plan requires large companies to offer insurance, otherwise pay a tax to help cover the uninsured, that way if you can't get insurance through your job you can buy a government- approved plan.

"You're going to be able to buy the same health insurance Senator McCain and I enjoy," Senator Obama said during the second presidential debate.

Obama said the plan will be paid for by rolling back the Bush tax cuts for families making more than $250,000 per year. "The Obama plan is a more traditional democratic approach to these important issues," Dr. Nash explained.

One major criticism of Obama's plan is it's cost. "Clearly paying for the expansion in access and the expansion in the number of children covered and the number of poor people is going to be a challenge," Nash said.

Meanwhile, one major criticism of McCain's plan is whether it's enough. "The math just doesn't really work because $5,000 is not going to be enough to buy in the private market," Nash said.

So for voters, the question is do you think the market can fix healthcare or do you think the government should intervene and spend more to get more people covered?

Nash said, "I think voters have to look at the very moral and economic issues and make up their own minds."


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