October 8th, 2008
08:15 AM ET
14 years ago

Fact Check: Are business groups critical of McCain's health plan?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/08/art.mccain.10.7.jpg caption="Sen. Obama criticized McCain's health care plane Tuesday night."]
The Statement
At a presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 7, in Nashville, Tennessee, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama criticized the health-care plan of Republican opponent Sen. John McCain. "In fact, just today, business organizations like the United States Chamber of Commerce, which generally are
pretty supportive of Republicans, said that this would lead to the unraveling of the employer-based health care system," Obama said.

Get the facts!

The Facts
McCain's health plan includes a $2,500 tax credit for individuals, or $5,000 for families, but also would end the tax-free status that employer-provided health plans currently have. The McCain campaign says that "families will be able to choose the insurance provider that suits them best and the money would be sent directly to the insurance provider."

Obama's comments appear to refer to an Oct. 7 New York Times article in which R. Bruce Josten, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's executive vice president for government affairs, called elements of McCain's health plan "very discomforting" to some in the business community. "The private marketplace, in my opinion, is ill-prepared today with an infrastructure for an individual-based health insurance system," he said in the article.

The article paraphrases officials from groups like the Chamber, the Business Roundtable and the National Federation of Independent Businesses saying that eliminating the income-tax exclusion would "accelerate the erosion of employer-sponsored health insurance and do little to reduce the number of
uninsured from 45 million."

Josten says there is a "huge question" whether the $2,500 for individuals or $5,000 for families would be enough to buy the same kind of coverage. According to the article, officials with eight business trade groups contacted by the Times predicted the McCain plan would raise costs and force some employers to stop providing health benefits.

Verdict: True. Obama accurately expresses the tone and content of the news article.

Filed under: Fact Check • John McCain
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