John McCain's Plan For Universal Health Care [UPDATED]

(Cross-posted at Clintonistas for Obama)

During the primaries, one of the ongoing disputes was over which candidate had a plan that would "really" provide health insurance to everyone in America.  That's in the past, and I think the past few nights of the convention have made it clear that the Democratic Party stands united in support of the idea that every single American should be able to receive health care.

But my friends, I have to acknowledge that the GOP has beaten us to the punch and once again shown itself to be the "party of ideas." Yes, it's true, John McCain has come up with a plan that would make the category of uninsured Americans a thing of the past, and cheaply, too!  So in the spirit of putting country before party, and in furtherance of Barack Obama's message that there's nothing wrong with admitting when a Republican has a good idea, I feel compelled to share this one.

You see, when I said McCain's plan would "make the category of uninsured Americans a thing of the past," I was speaking quite literally.  John Goodman, president of a right-wing think tank and one of the architects of McCain's health care plan, helpfully explains:

Mr. Goodman, who helped craft Sen. John McCain's health care policy, said anyone with access to an emergency room effectively has insurance, albeit the government acts as the payer of last resort. (Hospital emergency rooms by law cannot turn away a patient in need of immediate care.)

"So I have a solution. And it will cost not one thin dime," Mr. Goodman said. "The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American - even illegal aliens - as uninsured. Instead, the bureau should categorize people according to the likely source of payment should they need care.

"So, there you have it. Voila! Problem solved."

My friends, the simplicity of this common-sense solution has to warm your heart.  Now, there are those who will say McCain is just offering more of the same,

"...I mean, people have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room."

--President Bush, July 10, 2007

but I think you have to admire Candidate McCain's willingness to go into an actual election campaign armed with nothing but this sort of straight talk.  Really, I think it says a lot about what he would offer the country as President.

UPDATE:The good version of Josh Marshall is on the case.

First, the McCain camp denied that Goodman was an advisor. Then, after being confronted with evidence to the contrary, they went on to issue what amounts to a non-denial denial and a repudiation of Goodman's emergency room statement...

Clearly, the McCain campaign wants this guy thrown overboard ASAP. But the sketchy nature of the McCain campaign's denial makes it clear that he was an advisor of some sort. And the citation in the WSJ, again, makes the denial highly dubious. More significantly, as Cohn notes in his reporting, the idea that Goodman's views are not in line with McCain's policy proposals is just not true to anyone who is well-versed in health care policy. They're actually right in line. As Jon notes, the problem is that Goodman stated explicitly what is implicit in McCain's plan, and that of other health care policy proposals that define the 'problem' in the health care debate as people having too much insurance coverage.

Tags: Health care, John Goodman, John McCain (all tags)




for Republican ideas, and the ongoing search to find some.

by Steve M 2008-08-28 11:11AM | 0 recs

Do the Rethuglicans have any? ;-)

by atdleft 2008-08-28 11:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Ideas??!!

As Lewis Black says:

The Democrats have NO idea how to fix anything

The Republicans have plenty of ideas...all bad!

(disagree about the Dems, of course, but funny!)

by WashStateBlue 2008-08-28 12:13PM | 0 recs
Re: John McCain's Plan For Universal Health Care

I worked on health care in 1994. Most of what my group had to do was come up with a defendable way to count the uninsured, since there was no direct way to get at the number from the Census at the time. The Goodman quote takes me back, I think that battle is long won.

by souvarine 2008-08-28 11:13AM | 0 recs
Re: John McCain's Plan For Universal Health Care

I heard a policy expert talking about McCain's plan on NPR's Fresh Air a couple of days ago.  

Appparently, their key to making healthcare affordable is to tax employer-based healthcare in order to discourage it.  Then, people can buy high-deductible insurance plans that discourage people from getting preventative care.

by blueAZ 2008-08-28 11:19AM | 0 recs
Re: John McCain's Plan For Universal Health Care

John Goodman always makes me laugh. He was so hilarious in "Raising Arizona" and "The Big Lebowski". What a joker!

Different John Goodman? Oh, in that case...never mind.

by LakersFan 2008-08-28 11:25AM | 0 recs
Re: John McCain's Plan For Universal Health Care

This one seems to have a talent for comedy as well, albeit unintentional.

by Steve M 2008-08-28 11:37AM | 0 recs
Re: John McCain's Plan For Universal Health Care

I was waiting for the punch line...but it's just a shaggy dog story.

by LakersFan 2008-08-28 11:47AM | 0 recs
Seriously, I had this dog that was so shaggy..

man, just don't get me started!

by chrisblask 2008-08-28 12:53PM | 0 recs
Re: John McCain's Plan For Universal Health Care

We would know it was the real John Goodman if he started ranting

"Now, in NAM, we did it this way..."

(Kudos for the Big Lebowski ref.)

by WashStateBlue 2008-08-28 12:15PM | 0 recs

Now instead of "uninsured", people are "self-insured". Since everyone's their own insurance agent, you've also eliminated unemployment!


by TCQuad 2008-08-28 11:33AM | 0 recs
An immigration is solved

because once you get here you've already immigrated!

And the Iraq war is Over!  Done!  If another one breaks out in the morning, won't we be glad we just happen to have troops there?

Reminds me of a paper plant in NC that had failed to meet EPA guidelines for 30 years, and had killed an entire river in the process.  Their whole argument - supported by a string of local republican politicians was, and I shit you not: "If the EPA would just lower their standards we would be meeting them now."

....(thud. thud. thud.)...

by chrisblask 2008-08-28 12:57PM | 0 recs
I have insurance...

...and my bill from the emergency room is still over $2,000 from earlier in the year when I thought I had appendicitis but actually just had shingles.

When I left, they couldn't tell me what was wrong with me, they basically did nothing effective but give me painkillers, and yet all those tests blew out my deductable.

We need something new, fast.

by Dracomicron 2008-08-28 11:45AM | 0 recs
Re: I have insurance...

And you probably had a $2k "annual out of pocket maximum", yet you had to pay more because they don't tell you that office visit co-pays, prescriptions, and the yearly deductible don't count towards the annual maximum.

(And on the topic of shingles, do you have a child who received a Chicken Pox vaccine before you had your outbreak? It is one of the few live vaccines, and people who are immune compromised can get chicken pox or shingles from having contact with people who just got it.)

by LakersFan 2008-08-28 11:53AM | 0 recs

No kids; I just stood out too cold at the Target Center rally back before Super Tuesday.  

Honestly, if I had it to do over, I would've stood out in the cold to help get people in to see Obama again... I just would've not gone to the emergency room when it felt like someone was ramming a metal spike through my chest.

by Dracomicron 2008-08-28 12:34PM | 0 recs
Re: John McCain's Plan For Universal Health Care

Alternately, you could have just posted a blank diary with that title...


by Skaje 2008-08-28 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: John McCain's Plan For Universal Health Care

Would you have still recced it if I posted a blank diary?  I need a few Stevebots.

by Steve M 2008-08-28 12:22PM | 0 recs
Re: John McCain's Plan For Universal Health Care

Considering some of the stuff that still gets on the rec list here, yeah I would have, LOL.

by Skaje 2008-08-28 03:20PM | 0 recs
Re: John McCain's Plan For Universal Health Care

I'm hoping this isn't the same John Goodman who won our hearts as King Ralph and dazzled us with his brave portrayal of Jewish bowler and 'Nam veteran, Walter Sobchak, in "The Big Lebowski."

No.  It mustn't be!

by freedom78 2008-08-28 12:18PM | 0 recs
John McCain's Plan For Universal Health Care:

"Get off my lawn!"

by chrisblask 2008-08-28 12:49PM | 0 recs
Re: John McCain's Plan For Universal Health Care

That's pretty fucked up.  Someone should take away his insurance for a few years and see how emergency room treatment works our for him.

by NewOaklandDem 2008-08-28 12:58PM | 0 recs
in the Woody Allen movie "Bananas"

after the guerilla leader becomes the dictator, he immediately decrees, "All children under the age of 16 are now....16!"

by desmoinesdem 2008-08-28 01:21PM | 0 recs
but seriously

I spent a week in the hospital in February. If I hadn't gone to the doctor when I did for diagnostic testing, but had waited until things were bad enough to warrant an emergency room visit, my infection could have become much, much worse:

by desmoinesdem 2008-08-28 01:24PM | 0 recs
classic McCain quote on his own health care

The wonderful nyceve caught this in April: 154925/594/832/498509

"Everything's fine," McCain told reporters during a news conference. "Like most Americans, I go see my doctor fairly frequently."

by desmoinesdem 2008-08-28 01:26PM | 0 recs
Re: John McCain's Plan For Universal Health Care

I've used that health care plan before ... what McCain forgot to mention is how this effects your credit ... the UC Davis bill hounds are after me for a few thousand dollars!

by DizzyQueen 2008-08-28 01:37PM | 0 recs
Re: John McCain's Plan For Universal Health Care [

OK, so we know we certainly won't get Universal Health Care under McCain. I'm not sure who's supposed to be surprised at this.

The question is: will we get anything like UHC under Obama?

Why, I'd like to know, should we believe that when the going gets tough in fighting for UHC, Obama won't throw it under the bus in company with all the other fine progressive policies now camping out there?

Why wouldn't it be better to wait out four years of a bad administration under McCain so that we might at least have a chance to select a nominee who has a passionate commitment about the things we care about, and whom we can trust, therefore, to do something about them?

by frankly0 2008-08-28 04:20PM | 0 recs
Re: John McCain's Plan For Universal Health Care [

Just to follow up my point.

If, as Obama supporters argue -- and here I won't disagree with them much -- McCain in many ways represents four more years of Bush, then wouldn't one expect that after four years of McCain, we can very reasonably project that he will be a terribly unpopular President?

Wouldn't such a President be extraordinarily easy to defeat? Wouldn't there be a tremendous surge for change in the WH?

And wouldn't Democrats have an opportunity once again, to do it right, and get a genuinely passionate and committed progressive for President?

Why should we settle now for an very likely ineffectual, flip flopping progressive like Obama?

by frankly0 2008-08-28 04:54PM | 0 recs
Because we know our history.

In 1968, Democrats didn't unite behind large measure because they really believed that after four years of Nixon (not to mention four more years of an unpopular war), the country would elect the Democrat (presumably, one more acceptable to the dissenters) in a landslide.  I assume you remember how that turned out.

Wartime presidents, once elected, stay elected, no matter how awful they may be.

by Elsinora 2008-08-28 05:14PM | 0 recs
And to follow up my point...

For people who, as Hillary put it, "need a president," wouldn't having eight years of minor progress (assuming that you are right about Obama, which I don't think is the case) followed by four to eight years of major progress under the "better progressive" you speak of be far, far better than four--more likely eight--years of continuing regression followed by four to eight years of progress?  And that's assuming that the successor to McCain will be a Democrat...which, given that under this scenario McCain will have been elected the successor to Bush in spite of his and Bush's awfulness, seems quite a wager.

And those of us who are slipping out of the middle class as we speak can't afford to take that bet.

by Elsinora 2008-08-28 05:24PM | 0 recs
Re: And to follow up my point...

Your example of Humphrey could hardly be more irrelevant.

Look, Nixon was NOT following on the heels of an extremely unpopular REPUBLICAN President, and continuing his policies, was he?

Isn't the exact argument of the Obama supporters that McCain will be four more years of Bush -- a President who has the country clamoring for change, as evidenced by polls which show his own popularity at 28% and that of the country as being on the wrong track in the 70% range?

Why would another President of the same party continuing his policies possibly fare much better in 2012? As for "War Presidents" not losing, does anyone imagine that if Bush -- as much as War President now as McCain might be in 2012 -- were up for another term at this time, that he would lose against any kind of good Democratic candidate? Isn't it obvious that if Obama himself weren't perceived as such an unknown quantity by most voters that he would be winning by a huge margin, as is true of downticket Democrats?

Your argument makes zero sense. If you're right that McCain will be four more years of Bush, he will have Bush's profound unpopularity at the end of those four years, if not worse.

And which is better: four years of a bad administration under McCain, followed by very likely eight years of a good, genuinely progressive Democrat, or four years of a mediocre, compromising, ineffectual Democrat like Obama, followed by likely eight years of a Republican, who can trade on the poor brand Democrats will have after a failed Obama Presidency?

If one thinks of the likely long term impact of an Obama Presidency, I don't see how one could reasonably want the man to win.

by frankly0 2008-08-29 06:37AM | 0 recs


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