As It Turns Out: It’s become personal

While Senators McCain and Obama have been discussing their plans to handily repair our nation’s broken economy, my mind has been admittedly elsewhere.

While Senators McCain and Obama have been discussing their plans to handily repair our nation’s broken economy, my mind has been admittedly elsewhere. Since August, my husband has been going through a health crisis, which has included weeks in the intensive care and cardiovascular units, heart bypass surgery, pacemaker/defibrillator, and never-ending medications, tests and tubes.

I brought Mike home from the hospital today. He was happy, seeing the world through different eyes. Watching him sleep, I can easily see the toll exacted on his total being. And I wonder how I can help protect him from the economical craziness of our country’s current situation.

Mike’s Medicare and healthcare insurance may cover what appears will be astronomically huge medical bills. It will take months to know with certainty what our insurance company will pay.

Meanwhile, our business suffers because the go-to guy (Mike) hasn’t been here to go to. In addition, that same business (the one that pays the bills) turns out to be one of many industries hard hit by the federal economic fiasco. Mike and I are just two of millions who will be discovering how well we can survive.

So, how do Senators McCain and Obama propose to make healthcare better given the economical situation we’re all in?

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s recent report on 2007 Federal Lobbying Contributions shows that the healthcare industry spent $445 million lobbying political policy, with over 80 percent of that amount spent by pharmaceutical/ medical products and healthcare insurance companies. This is standard operating procedure for the industry.

Senator McCain’s conservative ideology requires an endless free market unrestrained by regulation. He has spent years aiding and abetting federal financial mismanagement and economic wreckage. He admits knowing nothing about economics and has chosen his economic advisors poorly.

McCain wants healthcare benefits taxed (never before done) as income for employees covered on the job. He calls this a tax bias against those buying insurance privately. This tax would force some workers to drop their group coverage. McCain wants to then replace this government healthcare subsidy with healthcare tax credits, which will go through our pockets and directly to the insurance companies.

Individual plans cost more than group employee plans because insurers spend big money impeding those with high risk. Individual plans depend on the person’s existing health; have more exclusions (for example, a pre-existing condition); and have higher deductibles and/or co-pays. This sounds like the plan for people not needing one.

The latest news from the Wall Street Journal is McCain now plans to finance his imprudent healthcare plan in part with “major reductions to Medicare and Medicaid.” And he says he understands Americans.

Senator Obama gets the idea that the economy and healthcare are interrelated and that regulation and oversight are crucial. He also plans subsidies to provide insurance to those who can’t afford it and public insurance that competes with private insurances. His plan requires parents to cover children under 18, and will have public programs to help cover lower-income families.

Obama’s plan is pretty simple: if you’ve got insurance you like, you keep it. If you don’t have healthcare insurance, he will make it easier for you to get it. Obama says anyone, regardless of pre-existing conditions, will be able to “buy into a new health insurance plan that’s similar to the one that every federal employee … currently has for themselves.”

Obama’s plan would severely reduce the numbers of uninsured, but not provide universal coverage. Senator Obama’s plan is still by far the most moral and fiscally responsible choice voters have.

Contact Marylin Olds at