Last night the girlfriend and I wondered out loud and at length about what the McCain free market individual buyer healthcare plan would mean to us. Some very detailed answers from Ezra Klein and Jonathan Cohn, plus the obligatory horror story, all boil down to this: if you're lucky, you'll be paying more money for far less coverage; if you're not, you won't be able to afford to do even that. Eliminating employee buyer pools drives the adminstrative costs through the roof, and turning millions of already strapped consumers out into the free market looking for complicated insurance policies as if it were the same as choosing deodorant or deciding between Campbell's and Progresso will result in a lot of bare-bones policies being snapped up, which down the road will lead to jumps in catastrophic care after too many people have gone with "paying the mortgage" and "buying groceries" instead of "preventive care" and "early detection" because there's only so much cash to go around and their new policies don't cover half the shit their old employer-administered ones did.
And with all due respect to Governor Palin--which is a very small amount at this point--her beloved Joe Sixpack Hockey Mom living on Main Street USA already has enough on his plate to keep track of. Some people here at work make fun of the mangled syntax and spelling in our office manager's e-mails, but she knows her shit when it comes to keeping on top of the health plan. And our boss has taken on a lot of the burden, constantly looking for the best plan available for the kind of premiums his workers can afford, reimbursing us for half our co-pays, reimbursing our out-of-pocket payments to our deductibles, generally covering the gap between costs and the realities of our paltry bank accounts. You want me to take on the intricacies of that insurance and find comparable coverage on my own? I'd be lucky to wind up with a co-pay that was still in two figures.
It's not something John McCain has ever had to worry about. Even if he didn't have the lifetime government-provided healthcare (as well as it's worked out for him, it's rather disingenuous to hear him and Palin snark about putting the feds in charge of your insurance), his own personal fortune would cover any medical situation he might face. The rest of us? Not so much.