Is Contingencies a game-changer?

IS CONTINGENCIES A GAME-CHANGER?…. The McCain campaign probably never even saw it coming. Contingencies, the magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries, published an article by John McCain, titled, “Better Health Care at Lower Cost for Every American” (pdf). As far as the McCain campaign was concerned, few would actually see the piece, and the likelihood of it having a serious impact on the campaign was negligible.

Oops.

Paul Krugman got a heads-up on this jaw-dropper from McCain’s article: “Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.”

Remember, this doesn’t reflect McCain’s thinking from previous years — the article was published in the current, Sept/Oct issue of the magazine. McCain believed, very recently, that the key to “better” care at “lower” costs was to make the healthcare industry look more like the financial industry.

Barack Obama pounced, hitting McCain on this at an event in Florida earlier, and one assumes, he’ll be repeating the line quite a bit from now on. Soon after, the Obama campaign organized a conference call with Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) to help hammer the importance of this home.

And then, just to make this story a little sweeter, Brad DeLong dug into the rest of McCain’s article and found this hilarious observation from the Republican presidential nominee:
 

The final important principle of reform is to rediscover our sense of personal responsibility to take better care of ourselves and our children…. Parents who don’t impart to their children a sense of personal responsibility for their health, nutrition, and exercise — vital quality-of-life information that political correctness has expelled from our schools — have failed their responsibility.

These weren’t off-the-cuff comments; this is in a written piece, submitted for publication.

The mind reels.