Monday, October 6, 2008

More on the McCain Health Care Plan, from Krugman and the WSJ

There's a great column by Paul Krugman today which explains the big problem with the McCain health care proposal: many people would end up not being able to buy insurance at all.

I'm surprised he didn't mention a point I brought up in this post: Would Sara Palin Be Able to Buy Insurance Under McCain's Plan?

The Wall Street Journal today also has an article quoting McCain advisor Doug Holtz-Eakin as saying that McCain would fund his health care program by cutting Medicaid and Medicare. It also clears something up for me:

The federal government imposes two taxes on wages, generally: an income tax, which funds the government's general operations, and the payroll tax, paid for by employers and employees, which funds Social Security and Medicare. If Sen. McCain were to apply both of these to the value of health benefits, he could fully pay for his new tax credits. That is what aides have in the past suggested he would do.
Mr. Holtz-Eakin said the campaign never intended to apply the payroll tax to health benefits.

Now I understand why Jonah, Lerxst, and I had some trouble figuring out whether McCain is proposing to apply the payroll tax to health benefits: apparently, Holtz-Eakin either kept the details of the plan a secret, or he changed his mind at some point. As far as I can tell, there's nothing on the campaign website which explains this fairly important point. The article gives me the impression that no one in the campaign other than Holtz-Eakin--not even McCain itself--understands what McCain is proposing for health care.

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