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John McCain (R)

John McCain Election 2008

Released health care plan? Yes: Competition and Affordability

Health care stance: McCain released a health care plan in October 2007 that focuses on containing spending by better treating chronic diseases, like diabetes and heart disease. He also thinks hospitals and doctors should be compensated based on performance, making Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements dependent on results.

Health care plan highlights: McCain believes the fundamental problem with the U.S. system is the rapidly growing cost of health care. His plan includes reforms that fulfill his three goals: "paying only for quality medical care, having insurance choices that are diverse and responsive to individual needs, and restoring our sense of personal responsibility."

McCain has also made it a priority to improve the quality and access to health care for veterans.

For the TalkingHealth webcast on covering the underinsured, McCain released this statement.

Links, articles and more information: 

Ask the Experts: The McCain Health Reform Proposal (Oct. 16, 2008)
Sen. McCain's plan would replace the existing tax preference for employer-based coverage with a refundable tax credit for the purchase of private insurance, and allow people to buy health insurance across state lines. In this live webcast, moderator Larry Levitt, vice president, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Jay Khosla, Health Policy Adviser, Sen. John McCain, will discuss the plan. 

McCain health care plan has underlying illness (Oct. 7, 2008)
John Fout of writes that McCain's plan has several unresolved flaws, including a tax subsidy that is too low to pay for current health insurance plans, no accounting for inflation or raising health care costs and that it is likely that McCain will cut Medicare and Medicaid.

McCain Plans Federal Health Cuts: The Wall Street Journal's Laura Meckler writes that, according to a top campaign aide, John McCain would pay for his health plan with major reductions to Medicare and Medicaid. Independent analysts estimate that the move could result in cuts of $1.3 trillion over 10 years to the government programs.

Decision 2008: The Future of Our Nation's Health Care System (Sept. 24, 2008)

On Sept. 16, 2008, top advisers discussed the presidential candidates' plans for health care at The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. Audio of this session is available.

(Aug. 27, 2008) Sen. John McCain spoke at the American Legion National Convention in Phoenix, Ariz. on Aug. 26. Much of his speech was aimed at the audience of veterans. He stressed his plan for a voluntary card that would provide war and low-income veterans with government paid health care outside the VA system. Video of the speech aired on C-SPAN and a transcript can be found at

Health care on the Mississippi
(Aug. 21, 2008)

CJR's Trudy Lieberman begins a series examining how ordinary people from different parts of society would fare under the health care plans of Obama and McCain. She focuses on Helena, Arkansas, a Mississippi town of 6,300, in hopes that the press will follow suit and do the same thing for people in their areas.
Part I Part II

Candidates' Abortion Views Not So Simple: The narrative of the presidential campaign appeared to be set on the issue of abortion: Sen. Barack Obama was the abortion-rights candidate while Sen. John McCain was the abortion opponent. But those impressions have been altered since the Rev. Rick Warren's Saddleback Civil Forum on Aug. 16.

McCain's Health Proposals Under the Microscope: In the Columbia Journalism Review, Trudy Lieberman, AHCJ president and director of the Health and Medicine Reporting Program in the Graduate School of Journalism at City University of New York, examines John McCain's health care proposals and how they have been covered in the press. The five-part series looks at ending employer-based insurance, McCain's assertion that he would restore control to patients, how people with pre-existing conditions would get coverage, whether allowing insurance companies to sell across state lines will benefit consumers and whether he really has a way to contain costs. (Aug. 8, 2008)

McCain discusses health care at the LiveStrong Summit Town Hall meeting. (July 25, 2008)

McCain plan to aid states on health could be costly (July 9, 2008)
Kevin Sack of the New York Times discusses the financial logistics of Senator McCain's plan for our nation's health care.

"In late April, Mr. McCain, Republican of Arizona, announced that if elected president he would seek to insure people like Mr. Benamor by vastly expanding federal support for state high-risk pools like Maryland’s, or by creating a structure modeled after them. But as Mr. Benamor’s case demonstrates, even well-regarded pools have served more as a stopgap than a solution."

Would McCain health plan hurt employer coverage?
(July 6, 2008)
Kevin Freking and Nedra Pickler of the Houston Chronicle examine the impact that McCain's health plan might have on employer-provided coverage.

"There's a great unknown about Sen. John McCain's health plan: How many employers would drop insurance coverage for their workers because of his tax policies?"

Obama and McCain: two sides of the coin (June 15, 2008)
Janet Hook of the Los Angeles Times compares proposals from Obama and McCain on how to make health care more affordable, cut taxes and adopt a new energy strategy.

"On healthcare, Obama leans hard on government action to make insurance more affordable and, ultimately, universally available. He would make coverage mandatory for children, expand federal subsidies for the uninsured, and impose new funding requirements on employers.

McCain, in his health plan, shuns that infusion of government money and authority. He instead would rely on market competition to drive down costs. He would establish new tax incentives for individuals to get their own health insurance and reduce the incentives for people to get insurance through their employers."

McCain will release his health records (May 22, 2008)
McCain will release 400 pages of medical records, including documents related to his melanoma surgery in August 2000, to a tightly controlled group of reporters on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.

Candidates address the childhood obesity epidemic: The Washington Post asked each presidential candidate to address the childhood obesity epidemic. They were asked the following questions:

  • As president, how would you make the issue of childhood obesity a national health priority?
  • What role do you think the federal government should play in tackling the issue, and how much additional money would you commit to that?
  • Would you support national regulation of food advertising and marketing to children? Why or why not?
  • Would you seek to amend the No Child Left Behind law to mandate physical education in schools and measurements of its progress? Why or why not?

Webcast of Kaiser Family Foundation's Presidential Candidate Forum on health care.

Jake Tapper, ABC News' Senior National Correspondent, writes in his blog, Political Punch, that McCain seems to have taken sides in a debate that argues whether or not thimerosal is responsible for the growing number of cases of autism. When responding to the question from the mother of a boy with autism at a town hall meeting in Texas, he declared that there is "strong evidence" that the mercury-based vaccine preservative is indeed a factor in increasing diagnoses.

In a May 13, 2007, appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, McCain discussed his position on abortion and Roe Vs. Wade.

"McCain clarifies health care plan," The Associated Press, October 31, 2007
John McCain clarified an element of his health care plan, saying that employers who provide their workers coverage still would get tax breaks.

"McCain health care plan puts focus on spending," The New York Times, October 12, 2007

"McCain health plan includes $2,500 tax credit," Reuters, October 11, 2007

Health Care Plan: Competition and Affordability

Improving Veterans' Health Care

Track McCain's campaign funding at The Center for Responsive Politics' Race for the White House Web site.