Our disintegrating health care system is second only to energy as the most important issue in the current election. Almost everyone is worried about the economy in a personal way right now, and if the biggest reason you're worried about your own personal financial situation right now isn't whether you'll continue to have health care you can pay for, you're either very wealthy or you have your head in the sand. Both candidates are campaigning on this issue; they both say it's important and they say they have a plan for dealing with it. I actually gave McCain some credit for what he said about his health plan. The McCain plan, as I understood it, was this: health benefits from a job would become taxable. Everyone, with employer provided insurance, insurance they got on their own, or no insurance, gets a $5000 refundable tax credit. And all health plans are opened up to everyone, and we all shop for the best deal. The centerpiece of this plan, without which it is worthless, is a guarantee that insurance companies would have to take everybody with no pre-existing condition limits.
Well, this morning I heard the McCain plan explained a little more completely. There IS no guarantee that real health plans would actually have to cover anyone who actually needs medical services. Instead, there's an explicit arrangement where "high risk" patients get to be in a special pool, where it's as certain as the sun coming up tomorrow that the coverage will stink, the premiums will be astronomical, and the bureaucratic hurdles will be high. All the healthy people get to have lower health care costs because all the sick people have to get together and take care of themselves.
If that sounds like a good idea to you, you must not know anybody with actual health problems.