Obama health care plan has one up it’s sleeve that has not been put forward in the McCain plan and that is – mass screenings for illnesses before they arise – by checking the population for illnesses – and providing treatment at the early stages – or encouraging people to alter their lifestyles – could mean a massive reduction in the overall cost of healthcare.

In addition McCain’s plan makes no mention of dealing with the insurance industry on non-payment or refusing to insure those with pre-existing conditions.

Under Obama’s plan there will be a kind of insurance pool – where individuals and business owners could buy into – which together would lower the rate people pay.

McCain's Healthcare Plan - Cut Medicaid/Medicare, introduce a health benefit tax on employers contributions, then offer tax credit to buy insurance - could be described as juggling and it does not cover as many people as Obama's plan.

McCain's Healthcare Plan - Cut Medicaid/Medicare, introduce a health benefit tax on employers contributions, then offer tax credit to buy insurance - could be described as juggling and it does not cover as many people as Obama's plan.

John McCain would pay for his health plan with major reductions to Medicare and Medicaid, a top aide said, in a move that independent analysts estimate could result in cuts of $1.3 trillion over 10 years to the government programs.

The Republican presidential nominee has said little about the proposed cuts, but they are needed to keep his health-care plan “budget neutral,” as he has promised. The McCain campaign hasn’t given a specific figure for the cuts, but didn’t dispute the analysts’ estimate.

In the months since Sen. McCain introduced his health plan, statements made by his campaign have implied that the new tax credits he is proposing to help Americans buy health insurance would be paid for with other tax increases.

But Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Sen. McCain’s senior policy adviser, said Sunday that the campaign has always planned to fund the tax credits, in part, with savings from Medicare and Medicaid. Those government health-care programs serve seniors, poor families and the disabled. Medicare spending for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 is estimated at $457.5 billion.

Mr. Holtz-Eakin said the Medicare and Medicaid changes would improve the programs and eliminate fraud, but he didn’t detail where the cuts would come from. “It’s about giving them the benefit package that has been promised to them by law at lower cost,” he said.

Both Sen. McCain and his Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama, have recently sought to refocus on health care. The issue once ranked at the top of voters’ domestic concerns, but has in recent months been eclipsed by energy and the economy.

Sen. McCain charges that the Obama plan, which would create a government-run marketplace in which people could buy coverage, would lead to government-run health care. Sen. Obama charges that Sen. McCain’s plan would leave many people unable to get insurance.

Sen. Obama’s campaign turned up the volume in a major push on health care over the weekend with two days of attacks from the stump, four new television advertisements, a series of health-care events across the country and fliers to voters’ homes in swing states.

Sen. Obama is focused on Sen. McCain’s plan to offer a new tax credit of $2,500 per person and $5,000 per family toward insurance premiums. This would allow people to buy health coverage on the open market, where they may have more choices and might look for a better bargain.

In exchange, the government would begin taxing the value of health benefits people get through work. If an employer spends $10,000 to buy a worker health insurance, the worker would pay taxes on that money.

“It’s a shell game,” Sen. Obama told an outdoor rally of 28,000 people Sunday in Asheville, N.C. “Sen. McCain gives you a tax credit with one hand — but raises your taxes with the other.”

….

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank, estimates that the McCain plan would cost the government $1.3 trillion over 10 years. The plan would allow as many as five million more people to have insurance, it estimates.

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Sen. Obama also would rely on some Medicare savings to pay for his health-care plan, which would offer subsidies to help consumers pay for premiums. The Tax Policy Center estimates that his plan would cost $1.6 trillion over 10 years and cover 34 million more people.

Source: WSJ

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