• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Who Will Make Your Health Care Decisions?

    This morning, The Lewin Group, a non-partisan health care econometrics firm, released its long-awaited report on the presidential candidates’ health plans. Lewin is “the gold standard of independent health-care analysis.” Its report revealed profound differences in the candidates’ directions for health reform.

    Barack Obama clearly favors an expansion of government programs (and the creation of new ones); more regulation handed down from Washington; new mandates, rules, and penalties; and restrictions on individual choice. John McCain advocates empowering consumers; reigning in government programs; freeing up insurance markets; and enabling individuals and families to make personal health care decisions. America is at a crossroads.

    Lewin found that both plans would make major gains in reducing the number of uninsured. By 2010, the McCain plan would cover 21.1 million new people, and the Obama plan would cover 26.6 million new people. What is most significant, however, is how the plans actually go about expanding coverage.

    As shown in the graph below, the Obama plan would result in millions of Americans losing private coverage and even more becoming dependent on government programs. In other words, Obama would prescribe a massive expansion of government coverage. The McCain plan would work in the opposite direction by expanding access to private coverage, bringing new people into the private markets.

    Lewin chart on changes in health care coverage

    Why is this relevant? Under Obama’s public insurance plans, the government would decide which health care services would be covered and how much doctors would be paid. Under the McCain plan, individuals could choose the private insurance that met their needs and those of their families. Moreover, the reimbursement rate for doctors would be set fairly by the market, not limited arbitrarily by Washington.

    Who do you want making decisions about your health care coverage: You and your family, or the government?

    Now that Lewin has come out with its analysis, Heritage is finalizing its reports on the candidates’ plans. We will release them next week.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    10 Responses to Who Will Make Your Health Care Decisions?

    1. Nathan Lamborn says:

      Government run health care leads to rationing; look at Canada and the UK. I don't think Americans like the idea of being put on a list to receive health care.

    2. Jack Lohman says:

      Rationing is an absolute red herring. Canada spends only 10% of GDP on their health care, and we spend 16%. Thus they have wait times and we don't. Maybe they even have rationing, but so do we when the CEOs whose salaries and bonuses are enhanced every time they deny care (yep, that's called "rationing" too).

    3. Joanne Rangel says:

      E-Verify is a good idea and should be extended. Enforcement of current laws would be helpful if they were enforced.

      When will government get out of the private lives of individuals and tend to their business which is severly lacking.

      We have an apparent lack of people that are really qualified to do the jobs that they are engaged to do (either by appointment or election.) How does the man on the street get the absolute data on the candidate? And, how can they determine that those facts are true and accurate (unbiased)? It seems that the majority of the media is completely biased.

    4. Kristi, CO says:

      The more the Government has their hands on the less freedom's we will have. I wish to make the decisions for my family not Washington whom I have no confidence in.

    5. Nathan Lamborn says:

      The rationing I’m referring to is “depriving patients of care from which they may benefit and which they wish to have” (http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/329/7459/227). This phenomenon can be found in the UK, compliments of NICE. NICE (The National Institute for Clinical Excellence) faces budget constraints even as newer, costlier treatments are discovered and something has to give. Health care is a personal decision, tough choices should be preserved for individuals, not left to bureaucratic institutions.

    6. Bernice House, Klam says:

      I am very afraid that the Obama plan will put us on the slippery slope to Socialism. I would much more like to see the McCain plan put into effect.

    7. Pingback: Jason’s Blog » Blog Archive » Who Will Make Your Health Care Decisions?

    8. Barb- st. paul says:

      Health IS personal, health care IS personal responsibility, health care insurance is a choice and privileged to have. If everyone took on their personal responsibilities to their personal health and it's costs, costs would not be outrageous. If government takes over, costs will be extremely outrageous with low quality care. Government is so bias and discriminating they hold people at different levels of expectations. Some people are exempt from their medical expenses putting all costs on those that aren't. The some of the people need to cover their own responsibilities and pull their own weight.

      For terminal illnesses such as cancers, drs with integrity bring themselves to research possible reasons that result this ugly disease. As the patients insurance doesn't necessarily cover the prescription drugs and some procedures the patients face, the government should provide costs to anything insurance doesn't cover no questions asked and in the name of research and public interest. In no way should government force decisions or omit necessary medications on the patient with a diagnosis of terminal illness.

      I am not sure what the government does for the common good of all but making our health decisions could kill us. Government has become so discriminating now they can NOT be trusted in this field.

    9. Bart Ingles, Califor says:

      I have supported tax-based health care reform for years, but have come to believe that it cannot succeed until both sides recognize that the existing employer exemption subsidizes group coverage as much as it does employer-provided coverage. Roughly speaking, the employer exemption compensates the healthiest individuals for participating in a group plan rather than opting for a higher wage and after-tax individual coverage. For these participants, it's roughly a wash whether to accept pre-tax group coverage or after-tax individual coverage. A new tax deduction or credit for individual coverage would not merely end employment-based discrimination, it would actually add an entirely new, unprecedented and unjustified tax break.

      If McCain's proposed tax credit were limited to group or other plans that use community rating (either modified or pure), then his proposal would have been immune to the strongest objections, and most of the loss of private coverage shown in the graph could be avoided. Note that I don't argue for guaranteed issue, merely for the same rules that apply to employer-based group coverage, per HIPAA Title I.

    10. Kurt, Virginia says:

      One day we woke up and said this was wrong, the next day we woke up and said that was wrong. Suddenly we woke up and said everything was wrong. The truth is nothing is wrong. Our society allows these things to happen. We have Freedom. No one can take that away from us. We have the Freedom to make a choice. No man can take that choice away from us. To many have died for Freedom. This is a great time to be an American. Our Freedoms will be challenged by many.

      The challenges we face are great, and we may not meet them in one term or with one President. But history tells us we have met greater challenges before. And the seriousness of this moment tells us we can't afford not to try. Obama Raleigh, NC | June 09, 2008

      I understand that the challenges facing our economy didn't start the day George Bush took office and they won't end the day he leaves. Obama Raleigh, NC | June 09, 2008

      The wise and correct course to follow in taxation and in all other economic legislation is not to destroy those who have already secured success but to create conditions under which every one will have a better chance to be successful.

      America needs to wake up and be responsible for their actions. I will leave you with this thought with a quote from one of our greatest leaders, Thomas Jefferson “ A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have. – Thomas Jefferson”

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.