Devil? Meet Details. The Presidential Candidates’ Health Care Plans

Arizona Sen. John McCain’s visit to Denver today will largely rehash a stump speech that he’s given all week during a whirlwind nationwide tour on health care reform.The presumptive republican presidential nominee’s plan is as radically different as Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s proposals are remarkably similar.

Most notably, McCain recommends decoupling health care insurance from employment and replacing it with a $5,000 federal tax credit to purchase insurance on the open market. The campaign admits, however, that the McCain proposal will result in substantially higher costs for some families.

According to a report [PDF] released this week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the average annual premium for family coverage in 2005 was $10,850 — a cost that gobbled up almost one-quarter of the average Colorado family’s median income. In just five years, from 2001 to 2005, premiums here climbed 34.5 percent while income rose less than seven percent.

McCain’s tax credit would cover less than half the premium cost.

Under the McCain plan, those with pre-existing conditions who are often rejected for private coverage, would have to seek out high-risk pools formed by the states that will contract directly with insurers. President Bush backed a similar plan which was soundly defeated in Congress last year.

The Kaiser Family Foundation prepared this handy comparison chart to enable voters to better evaluate the candidates’ positions.

Click the image to read the entire chart at

Look for Colorado Confidential’s reporting on the McCain speech later today.