October 11, 2007 / 4:53 PM / 13 years ago

McCain health plan includes $2,500 tax credit

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Az) speaks during the Republican presidential debate in Dearborn, Michigan, October 9, 2007. REUTERS/Jason Reed

DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain outlined a proposal on Thursday to revamp the U.S. health care system by providing Americans with a refundable $2,500 tax credit as an incentive to buy insurance.

McCain’s plan offers voluntary solutions to fixing health care in the country, where the high cost of care has meant millions of Americans are unable to pay for health insurance.

McCain warned the U.S. health care system is facing a “perfect storm” of problems that if not addressed by the next president will cause the system to implode.

Current health care spending of $2.2 trillion will nearly double to $4 trillion by 2015, while in ensuing years the Medicare government health plan for older Americans will be broke and the Social Security system will be spending more than taking in, McCain warned.

“You don’t have to be a candidate for president to discover that worries over the availability and the cost of health care trouble the waking hours and disturb the sleep of more Americans than any other single domestic issue,” McCain planned to tell the Rotary Club in Des Moines.

His ideas are markedly different from plans for health care put forward by Democratic presidential candidates, such as a proposal outlined last month from the party’s front-runner, Sen. Hillary Clinton, who would require health insurance for all 47 million uninsured Americans.

McCain, who is running behind key rivals in the race to be the Republican presidential nominee in the November 2008 election, said he would provide individuals with a $2,500 tax credit, $5,000 for families, as an incentive to buy health insurance.

McCain said he would promote open health care markets by letting providers practice nationwide, rather than restricting them regionally. This would allow families to purchase health insurance across state lines and through any willing sponsor.

McCain unveiled his plan while campaigning in Iowa, site of the first event in the presidential nominating process in less than three months.

To read more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at blogs.reuters.com/trail08/

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