Can Obama Create Tax Credits for Health Insurance?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that health care analysts are calling John McCain’s plan is “fundamentally correct”…but it seems that their focus is on only one part of his plan…providing tax credits to individuals for buying their own health insurance.

Clearly health insurance needs to be affordable for individuals, and the link between employer based health insurance and your job needs to be severed.  Health insurance must be portable, or else it contributes to excess job and work related stress…but it also needs to be affordable…at least until healthcare in the US becomes affordable again.

In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal (10/7), David Gratzer, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, writes that Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) “proposal — to give every American the tax credit businesses get for buying health insurance — is the right prescription for what ails our healthcare system.” Citing data from the Census Bureau that indicate “the percentage of Americans who get their health insurance at work has been shrinking,” Gratzer asserts that “the foundation of [the healthcare] system — employer provided health insurance — is crumbling.” And, Sen. McCain “recognizes that a large part of the problem is that the tax code favors employer-funded health insurance.” Gratzer argues that although Sen. McCain “doesn’t want to scrap employer-based insurance…he wants to fundamentally change the way the system works and instead give the self-employed and individuals a tax break for buying their own insurance.” He concedes that Sen. “McCain’s plan has its flaws,” but questions whether what Sen. Obama (D-Ill.) “is proposing [is] any better.” Gratzer concludes, “On health reform, Mr. McCain is fundamentally right.”

Here’s the part I don’t get…just because it’s in McCain’s campaign platform, does that mean Obama can’t push for it as well after he becomes president?  Is it mandatory that both candidates take opposing stances on every issue?

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