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John McCain's Health Care Reform Plan - 2008 Presidential Election

Posted Jul 16th, 2008 by Patient Assistance Team
Giving the individual the ability to make their own health care choices based on their needs and financial ability is the basis of Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain. With over 47 million uninsured currently living in the United States, McCain's plan addresses the need to provide more control to those who are in need rather then attempt to fit them into a more generalized system. McCain strongly believes that the individual or family should be in charge of where their specific health care dollars are spent.

For this plan to achieve it's full potential, McCain intends to inspire a more competitive health care industry. In a system where competition is high within a specific industry, the consumers often find themselves receiving the best quality of service at a much more affordable price. By eliminating the ties that currently bind an individual to a health insurance plan through their place of employment or on a state level, an individual will have the ability to carry their health insurance with them regardless of location or employment status. This will vastly increase the number of options available, thus inciting competition into a currently restricted market.

McCain's plan, while realizing the benefit of receiving coverage through ones employer, also understands the need and advantage to an individual choosing where their health care money goes. Through his proposed tax code reform, McCain proposes a direct refundable tax credit of $2,500 be issued to individuals and $5,000 to families that choose to purchase their own insurance outside of their employer. This tax credit will offset the cost of a regular insurance plan or even entirely fund a Health Savings Account (HSA).

Under this reform, Health Savings Accounts will be both highly encouraged and further expanded upon to aid families and individuals who desire direct control over their health care options. The benefit of an has over more typical insurance plans in this situation is that the individual or family will have the ability to decide against unnecessary options and avoid paying for administrative fees that do not benefit their health directly.

With the freedom to choose what health insurance the individual or family will have, McCain's plan recognizes the benefit of not having to switch plans continuously based on location or employment status.

McCain's plan addresses the concerns of the United States health care system in through two focus areas:
- Ensuring Care for Higher Risk Patients
- Lowering Health Care Costs

Ensuring Care for Higher Risk Patients

There are many individuals who are currently uninsured due to a pre-existing or chronic condition. In our current system, these individuals are hard pressed to receive any form of insurance coverage they would need to better their health related condition. McCain's plan recognizes that this is one of the largest issues that we are currently facing in our country at this point, and as such, the plan calls for a Guaranteed Access Plan (GAP).

Through working directly with McCain, each state will be able to develop the best possible GAP that will address the needs of those who fall into the uninsurable category. These plans would rely upon the state or an established nonprofit to negotiate with the insurance companies, guaranteeing a reasonably capped premium and additional assistance for those under the state and GAP decided income level. GAP will be fully funded through state and federal resources, allowing for the individual to acquire what they need without having to pay full price for it.

Lowering Health Care Costs

We are currently witnessing a continued growth in the cost of health care and prescription medications in the United States. As the number of uninsured grow, so do these costs, creating a continuous cycle that leaves many without the treatment they need. Several studies have already reported that within the next ten years, if this rate continues, health care related spending will be twenty percent of the economy. Small businesses and families are already feeling the pressure that is creeping its way up to the larger corporations each day.

McCain proposes to increase the competition of the prescription drug market through safely importing drugs from other countries and increasing the speed at which generic drugs are allowed to hit the market. He exact same medications that are sold within the United States often cost less than half the price of what is paid within this country. By opening the doors to importation properly and making it easier for generic medications to be made, the market will receive a sizable increase in the number of participants currently competing.

As it stands, chronic diseases and conditions are responsible for more than 75% of the national annual health care bill. The intentions of this plan in regard to this issue is to emphasize the prevention and focus on advancing current methods of treatment, the costs will be greatly reduced. To achieve this, McCain intends to increase federally funded research of curing chronic disease and conditions.

Expnading the availability and locations of walk-in clinics is a key point in lowering the health care costs that individuals and families deal with. Not everyone has the ability to gain care close by and with the current high gas prices, travel can cost more than a doctors visit for some. By increasing the number of walk-in clinics in an area as well as expanding them into retail outlets, fewer individuals will have to pay additional costs to attain the care they need.

On the technological front, the health care industry has yet to break into much of the budding technology that promotes faster transfer of information between physicians and their patients as well. McCain's plan calls for an increase in health care related information technology with the intent of reducing the restrictions currently placed on physicians, limiting them from practicing outside of their state.

The current Medicaid and Medicare system will also see some reform, as incentives will be given to providers for diagnosis and prevention of conditions. This will also result in these providers no longer receiving payment if they encounter preventable medical errors or mismanagement.

States will also be able to better manipulate their current Medicaid system to allow for a much better fit with their individual needs. This will allow for alternative insurance methods and policies to be provided depending on the circumstances the state has specifically designated. Their will be a higher level of coverage available to those that take advantage of the state funded Medicaid then currently offered.

Specific focus is given to smokers, as McCain's plan recognizes the lack of public support that is available for those who wish to quit. Smoking continues to cause chronic diseases and issues which individuals who smoke and are subject to second had smoke face through their addiction or proximity of one who is addicted. By working with insurance companies to promote a more widely available plan, this issue can be greatly reduced, saving the individual and family money as well.

With physicians and hospitals currently being sued for simply following clinical guidelines and safety standards, this reform calls for a tighter reign on the medical liability that physicians presently face. Many lawsuits presented do not even fall under malpractice standards, costing physicians and hospitals to incur fees that they and their insurance have to handle. By putting a stop to these unnecessary lawsuits, their will be an overall increase in quality of the care received, along with a reduction of costs due to less spending needed to insure the physician or the hospital.

Cutting costs involves understanding costs. As this reform is centered around providing the individual with better control of where their money is spent, they will need to understand the cost structure that their health care industry imposes. By providing a greater transparency of health care information, insurers and physicians will be held more accountable, and competition will increase based on the information being available to all competitors.

For additional information on John McCain's health care plan:
View the entire plan

As a non-profit organization dedicated to providing assistance to health care and prescription medication for those who can not afford to do so for themselves, we at feel that providing these services to those in need does not end at a financial level. It is our responsibility to provide you with access to news and information that will allow you to become involved in how your country's healthcare system addresses your needs.