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Sen. Barack Obama is charging that Sen.
John McCain would cut $882 billion in Medicare over a decade to pay for his
health care proposal, The New York Times reported Oct 18.
The McCain campaign disputed the charge
which would influence elderly voters in swing states like Florida
saying that the latest assault on the McCain health plan was the
worse and most sustained distortion of policy in this entire
The New York Times says that Obama's
new TV advertisement may mischaracterize Sen. McCain's plan because
the assumptions are based on news reporting and rough estimated
calculation by a partition policy group.
In the ads, Sen. Obama was quoted as
saying that Sen. McCain's plan would require cuts in benefits,
eligibility or both which means that more than 20 percent in Medicare
benefit would be cut next year.
The newspaper says that Sen. McCain did
not propose benefits. Instead Holtz-Eakin, McCain's policy adviser
was cited as saying Friday that McCain would get money from a variety
Analysts say the McCain measures would
save money, but it remains unknown how much and how fast the needed
amount of money can be saved. And they agreed both candidates rely
An early poll indicates that more
Americans like Obama's health plan thinking their benefits would be
better off under Obama's plan than McCain's plan.
One promise McCain has made is he would
give tax credit of $2500 to an individual or $5,000 per family to
purchase private coverage. An analyst early said that McCain's
healthcare plan would result in more people losing insurance coverage
while Obama's can increase the number of Americans being covered.
Katherine Swartz, a professor of health
policy and economics at Harvard was cited as saying that under
McCain's plan, more people could lose their health insurance and end
up paying more out of pocket.
She said that tax credit is supposed to
help, but it actually will make it harder for low-income people to
get insured. In the current system, many low-income employees are
getting insurance they could never afford on their own.
Professor Swartz was cited as saying
those poor families would have to pay $8,400 a year for insurance
premiums which cover a non-group plan with a deductible of at least
$5,000, but the tax credit is only $5,000. This means one family
needs to pay $3,400 plus the deductible before anyone can benefit
from the health insurance plan.
Another drawback is that the type of
coverage on the non-group market does not also cover as many services
as group policies, meaning that people likely end up paying more out
of pocket when they get sick. Individuals and families under
McCain’s proposal would like purchase non-group plans, which often
cost more and offer less services.
Swartz said McCain did promise to
subsidize high risk pools with $7 to $10 billion a year, but that can
only cover about 3 million people, a tiny fraction of 48 currently
uninsured American people.
Under McCain's plan, Swartz and
colleagues predicted that more people would end up losing insurance.
Currently some 45.7 million American are uninsured.