In Virginia, Obama Talks About Healthcare

ImageWhile speaking in Bristol, VA today, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama discussed his healthcare proposal, and how it contrasts with that of his Republican opponent John McCain.

“But let’s be honest – we’ve been talking about this for a long time. Year after year, election after election, candidates make promises about fixing health care and cutting costs. And then they go back to Washington, and nothing changes – because the big drug and insurance companies write another check or because lobbyists use their clout to block reform. And when the next election rolls around, even more Americans are uninsured, and even more families are struggling to pay their medical bills,” Obama said.

Obama said that McCain wants to expand George W. Bush’s healthcare policy, “We know that since George Bush took office, premiums have gone up four times faster than wages, and Virginia families are now paying over 35% more for health care. Seven million more Americans are uninsured, including nearly 200,000 here in Virginia. Yet John McCain actually wants to double down on the failed policies that have done so little to help ordinary Americans.”

He correctly pointed out that McCain’s plan would undermine the current employer based healthcare system, “But it’s not just that his plan won’t help reduce costs; it could actually drive costs up. Senator McCain’s plan would weaken the employer-based system that most Americans count on for health care. It’s a plan that could subject your coverage to the whims of the market, generate up to $20 billion in new administrative costs, and actually put health care costs out of reach for even more older workers, even more sick Americans, and even more families. Senator McCain’s campaign has even acknowledged that his plan could have the effect of raising taxes on some workers.”

“In an Obama administration, we’ll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year. And we’ll do it by investing in disease prevention, not just disease management; by investing in a paperless health care system to reduce administrative costs; and by covering every single American and making sure that they can take their health care with them if they lose their job. We’ll also reduce costs for business and their workers by picking up the tab for some of the most expensive illnesses,” Obama said.

I think we are going to be seeing a whole lot of this type of contrast from Obama, not in the fall campaign, but through the summer. In completely blunt terms, John McCain will lose to Obama if voters make their decision in November on domestic policy issues.

McCain’s healthcare plan is the same one that George W. Bush has been pushing for eight years, and it is almost exactly word for word the same as the plan that Rudy Giuliani proposed when he was a candidate. McCain’s plan isn’t a new, or a maverick idea. It is the same old plan, wrapped up in a different label.

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