The McCain health care plan

Mr. McCain’s health plan centers on eliminating the tax breaks for
employers who provide health insurance for their workers – a marked
departure from the current system – and giving $5,000 tax credits to
families to buy their own insurance. His goal in shifting from
employer-based coverage to having people buy their own policies is to
encourage competition and choice, and to drive down the costs of health

Here is more.  Portability is good but so many of the uninsured families do not pay $5000 in taxes.  Will this boil down to a subsidy to those who don’t need it or to health insurance vouchers?  InTrade says there is a 39.6 percent chance we will find out.  And here is some vagueness:

Mr. McCain proposed that the federal government work with the states to
cover those who cannot find insurance on the open market. With federal
financial assistance, states would be encouraged to create high-risk
pools that would contract with insurers to cover consumers who have
been rejected on the open market.

Here is more detail; in part it sounds like revived HillaryCare (part I), but only for the high-risk cases rather than for the entire population.  The "notches" problem is obvious as people at the relevant margin hold out for the subsidized pool, thereby making the pool size larger and larger.

McCain also emphasizes lifestyle as a factor behind health; that’s empirically important — more so than health care — but after cutting various stupid subsidies the government should not be the main driver there.  Megan McArdle comments overall.

Trade aside, so far I’ve yet to see many actual policy proposals from the McCain camp.  Mostly I’ve seen attempts to signal that they won’t do anything too offensive to the party’s right wing.  Very few of these trial balloons seem to be ideas that McCain had expressed much previous loyalty to.  I don’t even think we should be analyzing these statements as policy proposals.  We should be wondering why the Republican Party has given up on the idea of policy proposals.


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