MARKET-BASED HEALTHCARE…. There have been plenty of comments John McCain has made over the course of the campaign, which he now regrets. Admitting he doesn’t understand the economy certainly ranks right up there; calling Social Security a “disgrace” has to be in the top five; and his dismissal of those who seek national office after a short time as a governor certainly looks embarrassing.

But this is a real doozy. Here’s McCain, very recently, on the benefits of market-based health reform:

“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.”

As Paul Krugman explained, “McCain, who now poses as the scourge of Wall Street, was praising financial deregulation like 10 seconds ago — and promising that if we marketize health care, it will perform as well as the financial industry!”

Josh Marshall added, “If the Obama folks are smart — and they are — they’ll ride this one all the way to the election. But among ourselves let’s admit that you could only be surprised by this statement if you were willfully ignorant to what McCain and his key advisors believe. Remember, his top economics advisor is former Sen. Phil Gramm, the legislative architect of the banking and financial services deregulation that led to the current crisis. And his health care proposals are all off-the-rack Heritage Foundation-style initiatives based on the premise that people have too much, not too little insurance.”

Also note the very clever approach from Anonymous Liberal: “[I]f we bring the same approach to health care that we brought to the banking industry, maybe in eight years or so, our health care system will completely collapse and the government will have to step in and take over. Voila! A national health care system. Brilliant.”

We’ll be hearing more about this. McCain will have trouble living this one down.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.