Recently, two Rio Grande Foundation economists, Ken Brown and Micha Gisser, had a column in the Albuquerque Journal discussing the health care plans of Obama and McCain. While Obama claims his plan will not lead to “socialized medicine,” Gisser and Brown believe that his reliance on government will inevitably lead to a breakdown of the current system.
As far as McCain’s plan is concerned, they say that it would:
McCain’s plan is radical yet simple: It would offer every individual $2,500 and every family a $5,000 refundable tax credit to purchase health insurance. He would abolish the current tax code where employers purchase health insurance for their employees with pre-tax dollars. We can safely assume that his plan, while subsuming Medicaid, would leave Medicare intact.
For the poor, McCain’s tax credit would be offered in the form of a negative income tax. Thus, McCain’s plan is in fact a voucher extended to every citizen, from Bill Gates to the poorest person sleeping under a bridge. Allowing people to purchase health insurance across state lines, and overriding the hundreds of state-coverage mandates, will open up a huge national market for the tens of millions of voucher holders. At long last the spiraling cost of health care will level out.
McCain’s plan likely is better, but I wonder, even if he gets elected, will Congressional Democrats go along? I don’t think we’ll get to find out.