Health Care Conference Call with McCain Campaign

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Apr 29, 2008 1:00 PM
I just participated in a conference call on John McCain's health care policy with Senior policy advisor Doug Holtz-Eakin and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.

Both were very impressive surrogates for Sen. McCain.

McCain also deserves credit for continuing to provide bloggers with the same access mainstream reporters are granted.  For example, I asked a question, as did Capt. Ed of Hot Air.  Other questions came from MSM reporters such as Dana Bash of CNN -- as well as reporters from the New York Times and other venues. 

The primary message was to shift from an employer-based system to an individual-based system, and that allowing people to buy health insurance from anywhere in the U.S., will create competition that will improve choices and drive down costs.  They also stressed wellness and early prevention, as well as the use of technology and electronic systems to improve health care.  

Holtz-Eagan noted the "Safeway" model where employees were given free medical care for prevention, and costs were actually driven down.  When asked how prevention and wellness would be encouraged, Fiorina seemed to prefer models based on "incentives, not mandates."

I asked two questions.  My first question dealt with the difficulty conservatives face when trying to "sell" free market solutions versus liberals who promise government giveaways.  Fiorina noted that "choice and competition drive costs down," and that transparancy also drives costs down.  Holtz-Eagan noted that McCain is "the best retail politician on the planet" and that this would help him present his plan to the American people.

My follow-up involved McCain's support of drug reimportation, which would allow consumers to purchase drugs from Canada.  This, of course, is a controversial plan which is opposed currently by the Bush Administration for both safety and philosophical reasons.  When asked about it, Holtz-Eagan said it was consistent with McCain because he is a "free-trader."

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