McCain Defends Gas Tax Holiday, Health Care Plan


From CBS News' Andante Higgins:

John McCain continues his push for a "gas-tax holiday" as he concludes his weeklong "Call for Action" healthcare tour. "I want to talk to you about a modest proposal that I had that seems to have created a firestorm, particularly among the special interests that ride around in chauffeured limos inside the beltway," he said to a town hall audience in Denver. McCain explained his plan for the suspension of gas taxes between Labor Day and Memorial Day this summer. "Why don't we give American working men and women a little break this summer," he said. "It's not the end of western civilization as we know it."

Her also elaborated on the difference between his health care plan and those of his democratic rivals. He strongly opposes a nationalized government health care plan, as well as any mandates for coverage. "I believe that if you adopt the program and proposals of Senator Clinton or Senator Obama, you will have a wasteful, inefficient, costly system replaced by a more inefficient, wasteful costly system, because that's what's happened in countries where they have adopted universal health care," he said.

His plan relies on choice and competition of the market. He proposes providing each family with a $5000 tax credit and individuals with $2500 to purchase an insurance plan that they choose instead of their employer or the government. McCain insists that putting the power in the hands of the families will serve them best.

The plan has been met with mixed reaction. Democrats charge that it does not address the 47 million people who need health insurance, and warn that the privatization of health care puts power into the hands of insurance companies, not families. McCain's camp points out that Republican think tanks support McCain's plan. "This was a solutions-based tour that was incredibly successful because for the first time Americans heard the responsible and effective approach to providing coverage and affordable care that they've been waiting for," said McCain's spokesperson Tucker Bounds.