RNC: McCain's Progress

WASHINGTON, April 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is an editorial from The Wall Street Journal that is being distributed by the Republican National Committee:

[J]ohn McCain delivered another speech yesterday on health care that offered a sophisticated set of policies that could lead to some of the most constructive changes to the system in decades.

It is good news for his candidacy if Mr. McCain is making space now for political creativity and policy risks.

[H]e contended that the health insurance and delivery system is in fact failing many Americans - but that it was failing because of market distortions mostly created by the government itself. Fixing these irrationalities would both make insurance more affordable and increase overall coverage in the bargain.

His major proposal would change the tax treatment of insurance. To review: Today's tax code permits businesses to deduct the cost of providing insurance to their employees, but it doesn't do the same for individuals. ... And it makes insurance less affordable for everyone outside the employer-based system ... Mr. McCain would correct this imbalance with a refundable tax credit, restoring the parity of health dollars.

As the Senator argued, coverage shouldn't be "limited by where you work" and said that "Americans need new choices beyond those offered in employment-based coverage."... A significant portion of the uninsured population at any given point is people who left or lost employment; but portable individual policies would follow them from job to job.

[M]r. McCain is saying that the health-care system isn't working as it should, or delivering the quality it should, for the large majority of Americans. "The real reform," he noted, "is to restore control over our health-care system to the patients themselves," introducing more competition on price into the system.

[M]r. McCain sharpened his proposal for high-risk pools to cover "uninsurables," building on current insurance experiments in about two dozen states. Such provisions are crucial to a functioning market but also blunt a political liability that Democrats were eager to exploit in the fall's debates.

[I]t also energizes the intellectual progress conservatives have made in recent years in their health-care thinking.

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SOURCE Republican National Committee

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