Health care questions we want to hear answered tonight

Scientists are looking to outer space for help in their attempt to prevent new outbreaks of the tropical disease schistosomiasis in southern China. Once the Three Gorges Dam is fully operational, researchers plan to use satellite data from space to determine whether changing water conditions in Poyang Lake, China’s largest freshwater lake, create favorable conditions

Full Post: Remote sensing helps tackle tropical disease schistosomiasis in southern China

How does a $5000 tax credit help when the average family health care plan now costs more than $12,500/year, and how are working families expected to pay the difference?

  • Why let insurers sell across state lines if it wipes out state consumer protections in the process?
  • Where will people with pre-existing conditions get quality, affordable coverage if they’re pushed out of employer-based health insurance into the individual market?

What We Already Know:

1. McCain will tax your health care benefits at work
John McCain’s health care plan will make people pay income taxes on the value of their health care benefits at work. So if your employer pays $10,000 a year for your health insurance, you will start having to pay taxes on that $10,000 just like you do on your wages or salary.

2. And give you a tax credit for less than five months of health care (after that you’re on your own).
McCain will give a family a tax credit of $5,000 - paid to your insurance company - but the average cost of a family health care plan in 2007 was $12,680. So McCain’s plan will give you enough to pay from January to May. You’ll need to come up with the money for June through December.

3. You may be one of 20 million people who will lose your health benefits
A study published in the respected journal Health Affairs found that 20 million will lose their employer-paid for health insurance under the McCain plan because many employers will decide they no longer have a responsibility to pay for health coverage for their workers.

4. And be forced to buy health insurance on your own
When you lose your health coverage at work, you’ll need to look for coverage in the individual market. But you’ll no longer have your employer doing the shopping for coverage and paying for coverage.

5. You won’t be covered for pre-existing conditions and may not be able to get coverage at all
When you are on your own, health insurance companies do not cover pre-existing conditions, and they often refuse to sell any coverage to people who have had asthma, cancer, or other common diseases. The federal law that protects people who get health insurance at work doesn’t apply when you buy health insurance in the individual market.

6. But you will pay higher premiums as you get older or sicker or if you’re a woman
In the individual market, health insurance companies charge higher premiums to people as they get older, and they charge more for people who have been treated for illnesses. Younger women get charged more than men of the same age simply because they can become pregnant.

7. You may have deductibles as high as $11,200 a year with bare-bones benefits and no consumer protections.
You may only be able to afford insurance plans with high deductibles, which under current federal law can be as much as $11,200 for a family plan. John McCain’s plan would also take away the protections that your state now offers people who buy health insurance on their own. Your state law requires health insurance to provide standard benefits and consumer protections. McCain’s plan allows health insurance companies to get out of following your state’s health insurance laws by allowing them to sell across state lines.

8. McCain protects health insurance profits by passing the cost to taxpayers and the sick.
McCain’s solution for people whom health insurance companies won’t cover - because they’ve been treated for an illness - is to put them in a high-risk pool paid for by state taxpayers and to charge high premiums.

9. McCain will pay for all this by cutting $1.3 trillion (yup, trillion) from Medicare and Medicaid.
McCain finances his plan - which isn’t worth paying for - with massive cuts to the two government programs that provide health coverage for 76 million senior citizens, people with disabilities, and low-income families.

10. Of course, John McCain won’t have to worry about any of this for his own health care.
You may not be covered, but John McCain will. As a Senator, he’ll still get good coverage paid for by the federal government. As a veteran, he can also get cared for through the Veterans Administration. And as a senior, he can get Medicare. That’s three ways that the government provides health care for John McCain.

Health Care for America Now! (”HCAN”), a section 501(c)(4) issue advocacy organization, is a broad coalition of nonprofit and political organizations that are working to promote quality, affordable health care for all Americans. HCAN and each of its members conducts and funds only activities appropriate to its tax and election law status. This statement was not funded or endorsed by HCAN’s 501(c)(3) members.


About 10.9 million Americans under age 65 purchased individual health insurance policies at some point in 2006, but only 7 million were covered by these policies for the full year, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The 3.9 million individuals who had individual health insurance policies

Full Post: 10.9 million Americans under age 65 have individual health insurance

New research shows that the cost of health insurance for a typical family increases about $100 per month when state governments limit price adjustments based on factors like age, health or risky behaviors such as smoking. The finding by Brigham Young University economist Mark Showalter is one of several examples of how one state’s set

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics just announced a jump in the jobless rate, from 6.8 percent in November to 7.2 percent in December. This indicates that there is further growth in the ranks of the uninsured. As many as half a million people may lose their health coverage as a result of last month’s job

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The public ranks action on health care highly as part of efforts to stem the impact of the economic recession and also views reforming health care as one of the top priorities for President-elect Obama and Congress, according to a new national survey conducted by researchers from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School

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The United States can learn from the Dutch Health Insurance System model, according to an article by Pauline V. Rosenau, Ph.D., in the December issue of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. Rosenau, professor of management, policy and community health at The University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston, co-authored the

Full Post: United States can learn from Dutch healthcare system