The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Channel 08

Coalition of Liberal, Rights Groups Attacks McCain Health Care Plan

By Ed O'Keefe
Health Care for America Now, a coalition of liberal, labor, women's and Latino groups, has released a new ad critical of health care proposals put forth by John McCain and several Republican congressional candidates. HCAN will spend $4.3 million to air radio and television ads in the next two weeks against McCain and Sen. John Sununu (N.H.), Reps. Ric Keller (Fla.), Randy Kuhl (N.Y.), Tim Walberg (Mich.) and GOP candidates Blaine Luetkemeyer (Mo.), Marty Ozinga (Ill.) and Erik Paulsen (Minn.).

"I've never faced an enemy like cancer," says the woman in the ad. "But it's OK. I'm a fighter. Under John McCain's health care plan, 20 million could lose their insurance at work -- I could be one of them. And with a pre-existing condition like cancer, I couldn't get coverage on my own. He wants me to fight cancer and the insurance companies? Fine. I'll take you both on."

As The Post's Fact Checker reports, McCain has pledged to give American families a $5,000 tax credit to allow them to buy their own health insurance, but he rarely mentions that he has also proposed taxing employer-provided health benefits, which would eat up most of the extra income from the tax credit.

The McCain ad will air on national cable networks and on broadcast stations in Ohio. The Congressional ads will air during local cable ad breaks and on broadcast stations. The coalition will spend another $500,000 on direct mail and phone outreach in the next two weeks, according to a release.

Health Care for America Now launched in July and represents the interests of several groups: ACORN, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Americans United for Change, Campaign for America's Future, Center for American Progress Action Fund, Center for Community Change,, National Council of La Raza, National Education Association, National Women's Law Center, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), United Food and Commercial Workers, and USAction.

Several of the groups have worked together on other issues this cycle, including immigration and opposition to the Iraq war. MoveOn, Planned Parenthood and the SEIU have all aired anti-McCain ads in the last 10 days. This week the SEIU and the Obama campaign have also aired ads critical of McCain's health care proposals.

In response, RNC spokesman Amber Wilkerson said "Barack Obama and his supporters continue to lie about John McCain's proposals, which would actually lower health insurance costs and provide a dramatic increase in coverage for vulnerable Americans."

Posted at 5:47 PM ET on Oct 8, 2008  | Category:  Channel 08
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What good is health care when THIS is going on all over America?

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 8, 2008 11:04 PM

Ohioan, Obama's plan would provide you with better coverage at less cost out of your pocket.

Yes, the tax credit would help you in your particular situation. Know what would help you more? Being included in a risk pool, one of the most important elements of Obama's plan. Individual coverage is as much as 30% more admin costs than group coverage, for the same benefits.

Further, group pools have better coverage, which means less out of pocket. Remember, those big co-payments and deductibles typically come when you're sickest and least able to pay. And group plans are less likely to have "gotcha" exclusions that can cost you thousands.

Odds are Obama's plan would save you more than 5,000.

Know what else is worse with McCain's plan? First time you use it and have a health problem, they can jack up your rates, as much as they want. Having trouble with 12K per year? What are you going to do when the only coverage you can get is 35K per year? Or when they exclude coverage for the health issue you have, and you're looking at 100K in hospital bills at the time you're sickest and least able to pay? Or when they drop you altogether, and you can't find anyone else who will take you?

I was a healthy woman in her early 40's who came down with breast cancer. Guess what? The ONLY reason I have coverage now is that I have it through my employer - and I know the healthcare system (I worked for a health insurance company and for a medical provider.) If it was possible to get good non-employment coverage in my situation, I would do it.

Obama's plan would make that possible for me. McCain's would not.

I am a living example of how bad things can get, and how fast they can get there. Keeping a good job with good health benefits is one of my top priorities.

With Obama's plan, not only can I keep my current insurance (VERY unlikely under McCains ghastly plan), but I also have the choice of getting good insurance from a group with pooled risk. It will be cheaper and better benefits than I can get in the individual market. How do I know this? CAUSE I WORKED FOR THE FREAKING HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANY, WORKING DIRECTLY WITH THE UNDERWRITERS.

What McCain is counting on is that this is that most people don't know much about health insurance. I DO know quite a bit about it - and I would not support McCain on this one issue alone, because his position is so bad. If he's that wrong on health insurance, which I know something about, how wrong is he on things I don't know all the "don't bother to tell you"'s?

My life depends on my having good health care. I am not willing to die for McCain's lousy health care plan.

Breast Cancer Survivors for Obama 08!!!!!!

Posted by: VirginiaGal2 | October 8, 2008 9:44 PM

McCain's healthcare plan is far superior to Obama's. I pay $12,000/yr. out of my own pocket because my employer doesn't provide health insurance. I've researched other alternatives and McCain's plan will give me a $5,000 tax credit which will help me immensely. The taxes related to it are very, very miniscule compared to the $5,000 tax credit! Thank you McCain.

Posted by: ohioan | October 8, 2008 9:26 PM

Obama doesn't need to lie about McCain's proposals. They're really that bad.

Obama's plan helps people like myself - and like the woman in the ad - that are cancer survivors. WE CANNOT GET DECENT, AFFORDABLE INSURANCE IN THE INDIVIDUAL MARKET - WE NEED GROUP INSURANCE.

McCain's plan weakens employer based insurance, removes the protections that states have provided (similar protections are NOT available at the federal level), and does not provide protection for us to get affordable health care.

Group insurance pools risk by providing a mix of people of varying ages and health records. When you go to the individual marketplace, the insurance companies want to insure young health people, not older people who are likely to actually need insurance.

What happens in the individual marketplace is that, for most of us over 40, and all of us who have survived cancer, affordable insurance with decent coverage does not exist.

McCain's plan would leave those of us who need insurance the most with the least coverage - either no insurance, insurance at tens of thousands of dollars per year, or insurance that doesn't really cover much.

I am not willing to die for McCain's bad health care plan.

Breast Cancer Survivors for Obama 08!!!

Posted by: VirginiaGal2 | October 8, 2008 6:41 PM

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