Healthcare is going to feature prominently in upcoming debates in the exhaustive race for the US Presidency. Despite their war of words, Senator Obama and Senator Clinton differ only in rhetoric in their disastrous plans to provide government-run healthcare. However, between Democrat and Republican the difference between the two candidate's healthcare plans will be stark. Either Democrat would likely create an inefficient and improvident behemoth, while McCain suggests innovative market based solutions, putting individual choice at the centre of healthcare.
In Fortune, Shawn Tully extrapolates the essence of what it is that makes the McCain’s healthcare plan so good. McCain's system will ultimately separate employment and healthcare by taxing the previously exempt corporate benefits. This extra tax will be covered by a federal tax rebate of $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 per family. With employers no longer paying for healthcare, the benefits will be passed on to the employees in higher wages. Individuals would then be free to invest in Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), allowing bespoke insurance plans that suit their stage in life. As Tully remarks: "In essence, McCain wants to create a kind of national insurance market that shoves more decision-making power into the hands of consumers."
Reading McCain's speech inspires confidence in the Arizona Senator. He rightly believes that the "key to real reform is to restore control over our health-care system to the patients themselves." The whole plan is modelled upon opening up competition: Millions of Americans would be making their own health-care choices. Politicians in the UK are also talking of patient choice, freedom and competition. However, such talk is disingenuous given the near unanimous defence of the NHS. Is it too much to ask for a bit of joined up thinking over here too?