My Beautiful Wickedness


Cutting through the crap — Healthcare edition
September 16, 2008, 1:19 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Personal health care spending by Americans will reach $2 trillion this year and just under 1 in 5 people is totally uninsured. The uninsured pay $30 billion out of pocket each year for their care and receive nearly twice that in “uncompensated care” — that’s about 2% of all health spending, a surprisingly (to me) small number, considering how much bitching and moaning goes on about the costs of carrying the burden of the uninsured. 2 in 5 Americans is underinsured. Reflecting on your friends, family, personal history, it should be easy to understand why health care is a real concern to just about everyone. The candidates diverge in a serious way on this issue. It’s time to pay attention to the costs and consequences of the choice before us.

To help you get up to speed, here’s a brisk round-up of comparisons between Obama’s healthcare plan and McCain’s plan (labeled the “Don’t Get Sick” plan by critics)

Health Economists Analyze the Data — what would it cost to insure everyone? (you’ll be surprised at how little)

Henry Aaron, Brookings Institution, explains why universal coverage should be the goal to pursue but why it probably won’t be, and compares the two plans
Summation of a new non-partisan report comparing the two health care plans
Bob Herbert’s partisan commentary on that report

My take: McCain’s plan might do a little good in the short-term (a million or so people with health care, though more expensive care…) but within a few years, all the analysts agree that there’s a net loss in the number of people who will be able to afford insurance and a net loss of numbers of companies who will provide health care as a benefit through their jobs. McCain drastically overstates the number of people who will be covered under this plan.

Obama’s plan falls short of universal coverage rather substantially as well, but analysts agree that it is more likely to have positive increases in the numbers of people currently uninsured who can afford health insurance.

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