Ask Americans if their fellow citizens should have access to health care, and they will shout a resounding yes. Ask them what they are willing to pay or give up so that others may have such coverage, and most whisper-nothing.
Explore this issue:September 2008
This is because middle-class voters are accustomed to getting American-style on-demand health care at a fraction of its actual cost. Despite such contradictory thinking, health care is a hot issue in the 2008 presidential race because of broad frustration with the current system, steadily rising costs, approximately 47 million uninsured people, and concerns about the employer-based insurance system’s future.
Both Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Barack Obama (D-IL) propose radical changes to the health care system, each demanding a different brand of sacrifice. In essence, Mr. Obama would add new entitlements costing at least $155 billion, a Medicaid- or Medicare-like plan for anyone who wants it, and expanded State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and Medicaid. Mr. McCain’s market-based approach would tax employer-sponsored health care benefits, offset by a $2500 tax credit for individuals and $5000 for families, and open the insurance market to competition.