McCain says in a new TV ad: "Let's give every American family a $5,000 refundable tax credit" to buy health insurance.
Sounds good. But McCain failed to mention how existing employer-sponsored health benefits would be affected.
• Workers would be taxed on the value of any employer-paid health benefits, partially offsetting the $5,000 credit for those now covered by such plans.
• Experts say a tax credit plan like this would likely cause companies to reduce or eliminate health benefits for their employees.
The aim of the McCain plan is to reduce health care costs through increased competition, by encouraging individuals to shop around for health insurance and medical care. There are many who favor such an approach, and we take no position on it one way or the other. But McCain's simplistic ad misleads viewers by promising to give "every American family" a $5,000 benefit while failing to mention what he would also take away.