Firefighters attack McCain’s health plan

The International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) recently launched a campaign in support of Senator Obama for president — and an attack on Senator McCain’s health care plan.

The commercial features four firefighters. "Our job is to risk our lives to protect you, and your loved ones. We’re proud of that," one of the firefighters say.  "Like you, we need our health care for our families," adds another firefighter.

The IAFF, based in Washington D.C., is a labor union representing approximately 292,000 full-time firefighters and paramedics in the United States and Canada. The commercial will air on local cable networks in New Hampshire, parts of North Carolina, Orlando, St. Louis, parts of Ohio and parts of Virginia.

"Lets fight McCain’s plan to tax our health care together," a firefighter says at the end of the commercial.

What these firefighters are talking about is McCain’s plan to tax
workers for employer-based health insurance. McCain is promising to
give each family $5,000 to pay for health care, but he wants to tax
worker contributions to health insurance as taxable income to workers.

Currently, roughly 160 million people in the U.S. rely on
employee-based health care – including fire fighters –  and are not
taxed on contributions to their coverage. Workers are already having a
hard time keeping up with rising premium costs.

Employee health care premiums are rising four times faster than
workers’ earnings, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health
Research Educational Trust. The average annual premiums for
employer-based health insurance are $12,680 per family and $4,704 per individual in 2008 – up five percent from last year.

6 replies »

  1. “AMA is non-partisan”, say what?
    So much for the credibility of this post.

  2. CODE RED: Be careful before you decide on the wrong side of the track! I highly recommend you research each of the candidates plans, through the healthcare medical community experts vs. media and TV campaign ads. As professionals we need to dig deeper to the facts/truth. With that said: I started my research with the American Medical Association. Access at:
    AMA is non-partisan, and refers people to the individual candidates web sites below. Also the reality is that AMA, every HMO, Health Plan, and each of the individual states will not just roll over to Government as Obama plans for a Single payor universal healthcare system. This is why Hilary’s endeavors died. Too much resistance. Healthcare should be the key reformers….
    With that said: hope these sites clarify both for you all.
    1-Republican Candidate Link;John McCain:http://www.johnmccain.com/healthcare
    2-Democratic Candidate Link
    Obama: http://www.barackobama.com/issues/healthcare
    AND to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation site side by side comparison: http://www.health08.org/sidebyside.cfm
    Further information I found includes:
    A New England Medical Journal artical 10/9/08 also
    outlines and compares each:http://content.nejm.org/cgi/reprint/359/15/1537-a.pdf
    The Urban Institute on Healthcare Policy is another:
    Good luck using your analytical skills!!!

  3. Well Catron, the RNCs own fear-mongering, lies, half-truths and distortions of Obama’s postions, policy, character and patriotism is the most disgusting I’ve seen since Bush was running against McCain. Here in NC they’re using race in at least one local race and fermenting hate against hispanics.

  4. This dishonesty of this twdry ad is breathtaking. It is nothing more than fear-mongering (like the inevitable ads saying McCain will reduce Medicare benefits).
    Every economist worthy of the name knows that the employer-based health insurance system cause the mother of all perverse incentives.
    In fact, as the WSJ pointed out yesterday, Barack Obama’s primary economics and health care advisors (Furman and Cutler) have both endorsed the type of reform McCain wants to make to this idiotic system.

  5. I actually think taxing healthcare benefits from the employer is fair. I don’t get ANY tax help paying for my healthcare. Until we get to government single-pay then let all of us get equal tax treatment. Oh by the way, I also favor doing away with the mortgage interest deduction on the grounds it discriminates against renters and their shelter costs as well as distorts the value of homes.

  6. I live in St. Louis and saw this spot run last night. It points up the difficulty of what I’ll call “economic reform” — where we stop favoring one kind of spending over another through tax policy. On the flip side, maybe it’d help to stop favoring one kind of income through tax policy (“unearned income”, so called) and eliminate the difference between payroll or compensation taxes and income taxes.
    OTOH, if people already think of health insurance premiums like a tax, maybe we should just simply go the social insurance route and make reality match perception…
    PS: that’s 160 Million-with-an-M, not Billion-with-a-B people who rely on employer-paid insurance.