Commonwealth Fund Gives Obama’s Health Plan Higher Marks
The health care proposal of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) is more likely to improve health care affordability, accessibility, efficiency and quality than the plan of Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), according to a report released on Thursday by the Commonwealth Fund, Reuters/Boston Globe reports.
The report discusses recent estimates from the Tax Policy Center that found the Obama proposal would reduce the number of uninsured by 33.9 million in 10 years, relative to a projected 67 million U.S. residents who will lack coverage by 2018 (Steenhuysen, Reuters/Boston Globe, 10/2).Â In the first year, the proposal would lower the number of uninsured by 18.4 million at a cost of $86 billion, according to the Tax Policy Center figures.Â They estimated that the proposal would cost $1.6 trillion over 10 years (Stanchak, CQ HealthBeat, 10/2).Â
The report found that the McCain proposal would provide health insurance for two million of the 67 million residents who lack coverage in 10 years. In the first year, the proposal would provide health insurance for 1.3 million residents who lack coverage at a cost of $185 billion, according to the report. According to the report, about 20 million residents would lose employer-sponsored health insurance under the proposal, and 21 million would obtain coverage in the individual market. The report estimated that the proposal would cost $1.3 trillion over 10 years.
Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund, said that the Obama proposal "tries to deal in a serious way with the uninsured." She added, "That is clearly a top priority. He doesn't eliminate it, but in my view he cuts it in half over a 10-year period" (Reuters/Boston Globe, 10/2).
In addition, Davis said, "It's not a fundamental change from where we are, but it would make significant repairs to places in the system which don't work well for people, which is really the individual insurance market" (CQ HealthBeat, 10/2). She added, "I think Senator McCain's plan is more concerned with health care costs and doing something about that through a market solution. It's basically saying let's have people buy their own insurance" (Reuters/Boston Globe, 10/2).
Neera Tanden, domestic policy director to Obama, said that the Tax Policy Center estimates used in the report make a "number of assumptions that we can't agree with, in regard to cost and coverage."
McCain Policy Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin said of the report, "This report is hardly the work of a neutral third party providing the American public a fair and unbiased assessment of the candidates' health care visions" (CQ HealthBeat, 10/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.