McCain's health care plan would increase taxes on employer based health insurance and price 20 million plus Americans out of the coverage they currently rely on. In return, he'd give them a tax credit that is not indexed to health costs, and will become worthless as the years pass. He'd push them into the individual market, where higher administrative costs and underwriting practices mean that if individuals try to purchase the exact policy offered by their employers, they will pay $2,000 more per year. In addition, the sick can be turned away, and the state regulations that ensure some minimum level of benefits will be dismantled. All this will cost us $1.3 trillion over 10 years, and set the rules so that more of the expense falls on the sick and less rests on the healthy. In other words, his plan makes health care more expensive, less comprehensive, and less secure.Read Ezra's post for the details. Johnathan Cohn has another summary of the issue here, and sums up the situation even more succinctly: "Fewer people with health insurance. Weaker insurance for those who already have it."
Brad DeLong has yet another run-through here (via), including some useful comparisons to Obama's health plan -- which, unlike McCain's, will actually make things a lot better for a lot of people.
Kevin Drum adds one key point: all this is a feature not a bug. Republicans think the problem with health care is that too many people use too much of it, and so they should make it more expensive to fix this.
Personally, I've long thought that this was the most important issue in domestic politics. Obama is only OK on it (neither he nor Hillary (whose plan was marginally better than his) support a genuine single-payer plan like I'd prefer.)) But Obama's plan is good, even if it's not as good as I'd like -- it helps a lot of people. And McCain is just horrible on it.
If McCain wins, a lot of people will loose their health insurance. The rest of us will pay more and get less.
Pass it on.
Update: More people talking about this: Eric Martin at Obsidian Wings, and Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly. And Jim Macdonald at Making Light, who channels Glenn Seaborg and says "If a foreign enemy attempted to impose the McCain health care plan on America we would consider it an act of war."