ObamaCare vs MackayCare

Health care reform is on the minds of everyone today (according to Gallup polls it is increasingly considered the most important issue) but there are mixed opinions on it.

Ignoring Sarah Palin’s attention-seeking inflammatory hate-mongering (no version of the bill includes death panels for grandpa or evil directed at Down syndrome babies), there are only a few THOUGHTFUL/informed public naysayers about the plan as a whole. John Mackay, CEO of Whole Foods is one. He recently wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal outlining “The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare.” Two days later President Obama published an op-ed in the New York Times defending his plan.

The response to Mackay’s op-ed has been astounding with several liberal-left-wingers-who-often-frequent-Whole Foods-stores vowing to boycott the company! There are anti-Whole Foods Facebook groups that actually have five time as many members (last count at 11pm, Aug 16 2009 was 10,003) than the pro-Whole Foods Facebook group (last count at 11pm, Aug 16 2009 was 1,944).

Fundamentally, Obama is pushing for maximizing the numbers of people who are insured, reducing costs and promoting a healthier lifestyle to reduce healthcare costs (more info on the ACTUAL reform options on this site). Mackay thinks that costs must be cut, healthcare is not a universal right that must be provided for all & that people should be more responsible about their health, not just their healthcare.  So what exactly is MackayCare vs ObamaCare?

Objective ObamaCare MackayCare
Reduce costs for employers Cut subsidies for insurance companies

Cut out inefficiency & waste in Medicare and Medicaid

Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts
Reduce costs for individuals Channel money towards reducing prescription drug costs

Force insurance companies to cover routine checks and preventative tests

Equalize the tax laws so that that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits

Revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program

Promote competition Create a public health alternative. Obama is now backing away from this as and might move towards non-profit co-ops Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines
Reduce costs for insurance companies Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover

Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year

Create awareness   Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost
Prevent Medicare bankruptcy Enact Medicare reform Enact Medicare reform
Maximize numbers of people insured and ensure that people will not be refused or discriminated against Ensure that people can have insurance whether they are employed or not, or have pre-existing conditions This is something that Mackay does not consider to be a right

Both sides have some valid points and a combination of both might be a good idea for America.

3 Comments

  1. Cookie MonsterAugust 17, 2009

    I think the argument on this will continue till the cows come home; Obama’s approach is correct i.e. increase the coverage of health care. He is trying to fix a problem which has existed historically, and who will take the blame for the past problems? Atleast Obama is trying to address the problem!

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  2. ChiaraAugust 19, 2009

    As a Canadian MD I find the US health care debate hilarious and horrifying at the same time. A universal single payer system works extremely well and as in Canada it could be province/ state run and transportable across provinces/ states. All citizens and legal immigrants are covered, no matter their job status or pre-existing conditions. The provincial governments decide which medical services will be covered (essenially all medically necessary assessments, consultations, tests and treatments except outpatient medication), and never interfere in the care of the individual patient, as private American insurers do (rejecting claims, establishing preconditions, asking the Dr to justify diagnosis and treatment and choose treatments that save the insurer money, at least short term). I know because I have dealt with both. The problems with wait times in Canada are as a result of insufficient government funding not the system itself. There is little abuse of the system by either patients or doctors and there a ways to catch it and stop it.

    I hope Obama prevails on this and doesn’t back off to far. There should be a public plan as he originally suggested, and if that drives down costs, and drives up preventive care so much the better.

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  3. seraiAugust 23, 2009

    I think there are other ways for Obama to extend coverage and drive down the cost of healthcare insurance without the govt starting to get into a new “business”, no? Massachusetts has a program where the state mandated that ppl must be covered and provides subsidies to the ppl. That way the amount of coverage has been increased without creating their own insurance system; but it doesn’t address costs. No proposal yet has been very good about cost cutting, beyond efficiency.

    Canada’s system (and UK) have major problems because of wait time- governments will never be able to provide sufficient funding for such programs. The scale is simply too big (and EXPENSIVE)- and you still need to have additional medical coverage.

    Let’s see what happens.

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