OBAMA KEEPS HITTING MCCAIN ON HEALTHCARE…. Over the weekend, an unexpected gift landed in the Obama campaign’s lap.
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). Paul Krugman got a heads-up on this jaw-dropper from McCain’s piece: “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.”
Barack Obama pounced, incorporating the revelation into his stump speech over the weekend. Today, the campaign took this one step further, launching a new TV ad on the subject.
For readers who can’t watch video clips on their work computers, the script reads, “We’ve seen what Bush-McCain policies have done to our economy. Now John McCain wants to do the same to our health care. McCain just published an article praising Wall Street deregulation, said he’d reduce oversight of the health insurance industry too, just ‘as we have done over the last decade in banking.” Increasing costs and threatening coverage. A ‘prescription for disaster.’ John McCain. A risk we just can’t afford to take.”
That last line, characterizing McCain as a serious “risk” is an interesting twist, since the Republican line on Obama over the summer was effectively the same message — that voting for Obama was something of a risky gamble. Now, Obama wants to turn the tables.
To be fair, I should note that Douglas Holtz-Eakin, one of McCain’s top policy advisors, said the quote from Contingencies is being taken out of context, and McCain was referring to cross-state purchasing of health insurance. Last night, Jonathan Cohn explained very well why that’s not much of a defense.