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Reality Check: Health Care Polices Of McCain, Obama Examined

Published On: Oct 17 2008 06:49:59 AM CDT   Updated On: Oct 17 2008 07:40:05 AM CDT

Health care is one of the personal of political issues, and there've been plenty of ads and accusations about the plans of Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Barack Obama.

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WISC-TV examined the health care polices of both presidential candidates.

Both candidates agree that health care costs are some of the most painful for Americans. That's why both plans emphasize affordability first.

But the two men take differing routes to get there.

"I want to leave money in your pocket. I want you to be able to choose the health care for you and your family. That's what I'm all about," said McCain.

McCain believes he can drive down costs by spurring competition.

He would provide every American with a tax credit for health care coverage paid for you to the insurance company of your choosing.

The $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families is meant to cover the cost of care or the taxes he'd now require people to pay on any coverage they get from their employer.

People could buy their plan from anywhere -- he'd change rules to allow purchase across state lines.

McCain believes insurance costs would become more competitive if consumers drove the market.

"The average family is paying an additional $900 a year in higher premiums because of the uninsured," said Obama.

Obama's plan centers on access, and at the heart of the plan is the national health insurance exchange, which is a national pool to buy health care.

Under the program, Obama said every American would be guaranteed coverage. Those who have health care through their employers could keep it. Those who don't could enroll in a public plan offered through the exchange.

Small businesses that provide their employees coverage can get a 50 percent tax credit on the premiums they pay.

Larger companies that don't provide coverage would have to pay a penalty to the national exchange.

Obama believes the more people covered, the more health care costs will go down.

To add some analysis, the non-partisan tax policy center looked at both plans.

McCain's plan is estimated to cost $1.3 trillion over the next 10 years and would cover 2 million of the estimated 67 million uninsured in that time.

Obama's plan would cost $1.6 trillion and cover 34 million uninsured.

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