PLAN vs. “PLAN”….Ezra Klein catches McCain advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin accidentally telling the truth about McCain’s healthcare plan:
John McCain’s health care plan aims to do something very simple: Raise taxes on the employer health insurance market so individuals move to the individual health insurance market. What Doug Holtz-Eakin just said is that even McCain’s top advisers realize that this will mean much worse health care coverage for everyone involved. As he put it, “what they are getting from their employer is way better than what they could get with the [tax] credit.”
Poor Douglas Holtz-Eakin. He’s stuck having to defend a healthcare plan that’s really a healthcare “plan.” It doesn’t work in theory, it doesn’t work in practice, and it’s not something that would appeal to most Americans in any case. But McCain needed a plan to compete with Obama’s plan, and Republicans like tax credits, so that became the basis of his plan. The fact that it doesn’t make sense isn’t something that McCain really cares much about.
UPDATE: More here from Time’s Karen Tumulty: “If Doug Holtz-Eakin doesn’t believe that young, healthy people would leave the system, he might want to talk to Mitt Romney, who actually studied the situation in the real world when he was reforming the health care system in Massachusetts. It’s not — as Holtz-Eakin suggests — that these healthier citizens would choose between staying with their employer-provided benefits or buying them on the open market. It’s that they would decide to go uninsured entirely — leaving older and sicker people in the employer-provided system. That would make it even more expensive for employers to continue to provide coverage for their workers, accelerating a trend that we are already seeing, in which fewer and fewer companies are providing coverage.”