Obama's and McCain's Health Care Plans

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Do you think companies should be taxed if they don't offer employees health insurance?  Would you be content with a tax credit to offset purchasing private insurance?  These are the main differing views between Barack Obama and John McCain's health care plans and in this Healthcast, we break down their reform ideas.

From the start of the journey on the campaign trail, both Obama and McCain have openly disagreed with the opponent's health care reform plans.  While they agree that the accessibility of health care is plaguing the nation, their ideas to expand coverage differ.

Obama's plans would be to set up "a new national health plan" open to anyone who cannot get insurance elsewhere.  "I will finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American," says Obama.  To fund this reform, large companies would be taxed if they do not offer their employees health insurance.

McCain wants more competition among private insurers and a tax credit of up to $5,000 for people to purchase private insurance.  McCain says, "My health care plan will make it easier for more Americans to find and keep good health care insurance."  For those with preexisting medical conditions, McCain promises a "guaranteed access plan."

Here's a deeper look at how the two stack up on health care plans: Obama wants to keep employer coverage similar to how it is now, but reduce monthly premiums by up to $2,500 over a year.  Savings to make this plan possible would come from more efficiency in the health industry, like computer-based medical records.

McCain's plan is to open state lines for people to purchase their own insurance at the lowest rate possible.  This plan would be possible by taxing insurance benefits that in turn would be offset by a refundable tax credit.  Now for the self-employed or those uncovered at work - under Obama's plan could buy a policy through a new "national exchange."  With McCain, this group would buy on the individual market.

National healthcare analysts says under Obama's plan, more people could get comprehensive health coverage, but since he would not require everyone to carry insurance, the problem of the uninsured will still be around.

With McCain, healthy individuals would see lower costs, while older or sicker people could see prices rise.  The tax credit could cover the cost of an individual policy for young and healthy workers but would be unlikely to do so for older or sicker people.

*To learn more about each candidate's stance on health care reform, click here.