HEALTH POLITICS: Big Business Sees Flaws in McCain Health Proposals
Turns out it's not just Barack Obama and liberal Democrats finding fault with John McCain's health care proposals. According to today's New York Times, rather than thinking John McCain's health care proposals are cool, business is rather cool toward John McCain's health care plan.
Big Business and Small Business alike told the NYT's Kevin Sack that McCain's plan would accelerate the erosion of employer-sponsored health insurance that still covers 62 percent of Americans under age 65. They didn't think it would do much to cover the uninsured, and they were skeptical of his contention that his approach would stimulate competition and bring down cost. To the contrary, groups like the Chamber of Commerce said they thought that the way McCain has structured his free market approach that emphasizes families using tax credits to help pay for coverage through the individual market would be very hard on small businesses and old-line manufacturers.
The whole question of whether McCain is onto something in trying to abolish the tax breaks worker get for employer-sponsored insurance is complex. The tax breaks are regressive, helping higher income people more than lower, and people who don't get insurance through their job don't get the tax break. (Ruth Marcus in today's Washington Post writes about the reasons for abolishing the employer tax exclusion). But other health reform proposals that would abolish or modify the tax break do it as part of larger reforms that would expand coverage and strengthen consumer protections in the individual market. McCain, as these business groups make clear, doesn't.
Of course, the business groups clearly explained what they are against. We hope there's a sequel to this article explaining what they are for....And how they are going to help us get there.