October 12, 2007 in Nation/World

McCain backs tax credits in health plan

Rick Pearson Chicago Tribune
Associated Press photo

Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., outlines his health care plan during a Rotary Club of Des Moines meeting Thursday. Associated Press
(Full-size photo)

At a glance

McCain’s health care plan

» John McCain’s proposed overhaul of the nation’s health care system contrasts sharply with proposals offered by Democratic presidential candidates. McCain focuses on expanding access for individuals and families but would not require people to carry health insurance. To varying degrees, Democrats want to make health coverage mandatory. McCain’s plan calls for:


Allowing people to buy health insurance nationwide instead of limiting them to in-state companies, and permitting people to buy insurance through any organization or association they choose as well as through their employers or directly from an insurance company.


Providing tax credits of $2,500 to individuals and $5,000 to families as an incentive to help them buy insurance. All people would get the tax credit even if they get insurance through work or buy it on their own.


Supporting different methods of delivering care, including walk-in clinics in retail outlets across the country, and developing routes for cheaper generic versions of drugs to enter the U.S. market, including allowing for safe importation of drugs.

Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa – Republican presidential candidate John McCain voiced support for tax credits, retailers’ walk-in clinics and fewer protections for the pharmaceutical industry Thursday in unveiling his proposal to heal the nation’s health care system.

The Arizona senator also criticized two of his GOP rivals for showing their “inexperience” in a debate this week in which Mitt Romney said he would consult with lawyers before a potential strike on Iran and Rudolph Giuliani defended his role in a lawsuit that struck down federal line-item-veto legislation.

Appearing before the Rotary Club of Des Moines, McCain proposed tax credits of $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families who have or need health insurance, saying it would be a mechanism to force more competition among insurers and enable more affordable health care coverage that should be available across state lines.

McCain also said he would encourage walk-in clinics at retailers such as Wal-Mart to act as an alternative to more costly emergency room visits and would encourage drug reimportation efforts and require generic alternatives to enter the market quicker.

“I believe Americans want to be part of a system that offers high quality care, that respects their individual dignity and is available at reasonable cost,” he said. “Unfortunately, the American health care system as it is currently structured fails this test.”

McCain criticized Democratic contenders for offering what he called costly universal health care proposals that require too much government regulation. While he said he had not studied Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s plan, he said it was “eerily reminiscent” of the failed plan she offered as first lady in the 1990s.

“I think they put some lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig,” he said of her proposal.

Speaking to reporters afterward, McCain said Romney displayed “inexperience” in saying during a debate Tuesday that “you sit down with your attorneys” before deciding whether a president needed to get congressional authorization to take military action against Iranian nuclear facilities.

“He’s not experienced in national security issues, and that’s why we got the answer we did,” McCain said of the former Massachusetts governor.

McCain also said Giuliani was wrong as New York mayor to challenge in court federal line-item-veto legislation. Giuliani said the law would have cost his city $250 million in federal funds, but said he supports a constitutional line-item veto.

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