Under current law, the health insurance benefits provided by your employer are exempt from taxes. Under Sen. McCain’s health insurance plan, this exemption would be eliminated and instead families would receive a $5000 tax credit to purchase health insurance. This tax credit would NOT go to individuals - but directly to the health insurance provider. Given that the average annual cost of health insurance for a family of four is $12,000 that is still a hefty price tag for consumers. Add to that the fact that many employers are likely to stop offering coverage, and the price on health insurance could skyrocket (since employees generally pay less than individuals because they are purchasing as part of a pool). And if you are old, unhealthy, or have a pre-existing condition – forget about it. The Urban Insitute reports that the McCain plan would make insurance coverage less accessible and affordable for those with high health care needs. Although the plan would increase coverage among the currently uninsured, it would reduce the number already covered by employers, leaving about the same number of people uninsured. Even worse, since the value of the credit doesn’t increase witph time, it is likely the number of uninsured will start to climb dramatically after 5 years.
By comparison, Senator Obama’s plan would provide government subsidies to allow low-income workers to obtain health insurance. The Urban Institute anticipates Obama’s plan would reduce the number of uninsured by 18 million in 2009 and by 34 million in 2018. There are currently 45 million Americans without health insurance, according to the Census Bureau.
Although Obama would not get to "universal coverage" - it would take a step in the right direction.