Editorial: The Oracle assesses the issues

The Oracle’s Editorial Board will run a series of editorials leading up to the election tackling subjects the board deems important. Whichever candidate wins two out of three will secure the Oracle’s endorsement for Presidency.

Health care
One of the hottest topics of the election is health care since so many Americans — including college students who are too old to fall under their parents’ plans — lack adequate coverage.

Both campaigns’ local offices directed the board to the candidates’ Web sites rather than directly answering questions about the plans’ respective problems. Unfortunately, the sites’ writeups of the health care plans are too vague to draw a clear conclusion.

Sen. John McCain’s plan:
McCain’s plan would present the public with the favorite phrase of the Republican Party — tax break. The plan would give those who pay income taxes a $2,500 break for individuals and a $5,000 break for families. It would also open the door for private insurance providers to cross state borders.

The possible downside to this is that some states require all applicants be provided health care, allowing insurers to adjust benefits based on an applicant’s health status. This could be difficult to enforce if health care providers are crossing state lines.

The increased access to various insurance providers could provide more competition between companies, causing them to lower prices to keep clients.

In addition to the breaks, the plan would open savings accounts so that monies left over from tax credits could be stashed for future use.

Sen. Barack Obama’s plan:
Obama’s main point on health care, which is that he would require that all children have health care, wouldn’t really affect college students. His stance on health care makes it more accessible to the general public, but not by a significant amount. His plan to forbid insurers from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions sounds like a great idea. It could,  however, backfire if insurers are forced to raise premiums due to the cost of covering terminally ill individuals.

By taking Obama’s approach, the government would have a bigger say in how insurance companies provide benefits. This would create private insurance policies that would make it easier for the average American to obtain coverage.

College graduates and students could benefit from the McCain plan, which gives breaks regardless of whether the person is insured, allowing students who may have lost their parents’ health care benefits to get an easier start. Students would not be affected by Obama’s approach since his pay-to-play plan would mainly be beneficial for individuals that are already part of the insured workforce.

Though both candidates present ways of reducing the number of uninsured Americans, the ambiguity of the wording in their statements leave evaluators unable to determine how many Americans will or will not be insured. Based on the board’s research, McCain’s health care plan appears to be the best for college students.