Health care is one the biggest challenges facing Americans today. The cost of health care is skyrocketing and 47 million Americans are uninsured. John McCain offers a plan that tackles both parts of this health care crisis by lowering costs to make insurance more affordable and available.

Probably the biggest problem with our health care system is the cost of insurance. Most coverage plans cost thousands of dollars and are more costly than what millions are able to pay. We need to tackle high costs to make health insurance more affordable. John McCain advocates allowing insurers to compete across state lines. Currently, it is not possible for a person in one state to buy a cheaper health plan with more benefits in another state. Under McCain’s plan, if Michigan students find a cheaper plan in California with more benefits than their current plan, those students could buy the California plan. This nationwide competition will greatly decrease prices, as companies would be forced to lower their costs to compete against other providers and win customers.

Furthermore, McCain plans to give individuals and families without employer-subsidized health insurance a tax credit so they can purchase their own insurance plans. Individuals would get a $2,500 credit, and families would get a $5,000 credit. This credit is required to go toward buying health insurance, and if you purchase a plan that is cheaper, you can put the savings in a “health savings account,” for use in other health-related costs. This tax credit, along with cheaper plans through nationwide competition, will make health care more affordable to Americans and thus help insure millions of uninsured.

Barack Obama has criticized McCain’s plan by saying it taxes health insurance, making insurance unaffordable. This is nonsense. McCain’s plan doesn’t tax health insurance for individuals, nor does it tax employers for providing health care coverage. Employer-based insurance will show up as income for the individual, but that tax will be returned to Americans in the form of a larger tax credit to buy insurance or put into a health savings account. In the end, the average American gets more money.

Obama’s plan doesn’t solve our health care system’s problems. His plan doesn’t adequately address cost at all. In fact, Obama’s plan is a series of requirements to employers, hospitals and insurance companies, all of which will raise insurance costs and make health care even less affordable for Americans. His mandate that employers must provide health care to their employees does nothing to help them provide cheaper health care. Employers will suffer to meet the higher costs associated with providing increasingly expensive insurance to their employees. If they don’t provide insurance, they face a tax, one that would devastate many small businesses. Is this really the kind of change we want?

The United States is facing a massive health care crisis, and we need real solutions to deal with this, not a fortune-cookie plan that sounds good, but in reality does nothing to comprehensively address the problems with our health care system. John McCain offers real solutions in a plan that addresses the rising cost of health care and provides greater access to insurance to all Americans. We need to provide tax credits to citizens to make their insurance easier to purchase, and we need to allow for competition across state lines to allow for cheaper plans with better coverage. We don’t need government mandates. Simply by reforming the current system, we can provide greater access to health insurance to all Americans.

This viewpoint was written on behalf of the University’s chapter of College Republicans.

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