U economist helped write McCain’s new health care plan

The Politico reportsthis morning on John McCain’s new health care plan and its Minnesota lineage.

The story casts the plan, announced yesterday in Florida, as McCain’s move away from total reliance on GOP-friendly chestnuts like tax incentives and tort reform. McCain would add government-subsidized voluntary risk pools; the larger pools presumably reduce insurance costs. The McCain campaign touts it as mandate-free, and estimates taxpayer funding at $7 billion a year.

According to the story, University of Minnesota health economist Stephen T. Parente is a plan co-author. He’s been an associate professor at the Carlson School of Management since 1996 and directs the Medical Industry Leadership Institute. Parente has made no federal political contributions, according to the Federal Elections Commission.

According to this site, Parente has been a consultant to UnitedHealth Group, Blue Cross, HealthNet, Pfizer, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Medtronic and the Mayo Clinic, among others.

In this paper, he questioned the ability of “consumer-directed health plans” like Health Savings Accounts to reduce health expenditures, except for drug spending.

The Politico piece says McCain’s plan lacks eligibility standards and many other specifics, and there’s no analysis from Democrats or non-McCain workers.

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