Washington, DC-- As he campaigns this week on his economic tour, John McCain is desperately trying to convince America's families that he stands with them. But when it comes to the cost of health care, one of the most pressing economic issues Americans are facing today, it's going to be a tall order.
While health care costs have skyrocketed and more Americans have lost their insurance, Senator McCain has repeatedly voted in the Senate to make it harder for American families who have been devastated by illnesses or injury to be protected from financial ruin. In fact, Senator McCain's record on bankruptcy issues, especially medical bankruptcy, has been one that has consistently left Americans behind. Senator McCain has voted against protecting people forced into debt due to their medical bills, against exempting families from a means test if their financial troubles were due to medical expenses and against protecting people's homes from being seized because of medical debts. Senator McCain even voted against efforts to exempt Hurricane Katrina victims from the 2005 Bankruptcy Law, and was a supporter of the 2001 and 2005 bankruptcy bills which tightened bankruptcy rules to the benefit of business interests and to the detriment of financially struggling Americans.
"John McCain's economic tour this week is yet another attempt to distract from the fact he is promising four more years of failed Bush economic and health care policies that have callously left hard-working families struggling to pay their health care bills and survive a catastrophic illness or injury," said Democratic National Committee Spokeswoman Karen Finney. "If John McCain is such a champion of America's families, then why has he repeatedly tried to stop efforts to protect people sliding into bankruptcy just because they or a member of their family becomes sick or injured? It is just plain wrong. John McCain, like George Bush, is simply out of touch with the challenges Americans face everyday. When it comes to helping families facing financial ruin due to medical problems, John McCain's record is bankrupt. "
According to a 2005 Harvard study, (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6895896/) costly illnesses are responsible for nearly half of all bankruptcies, and most people who fall into bankruptcy because of illnesses or injury have health insurance.
2005: McCain Voted Against Exempting Medical Debt from Bankruptcy Means Test And Against Protecting Debtors' Homes From Being Seized As A Result Of Medical Debt. During the debate on the 2005 bankruptcy reform bill, McCain opposed a number of amendments to protect individuals forced into debt because of high medical expenses. McCain voted against an amendment that would exempt debtors from the means test if their financial troubles were caused by medical expenses, and he opposed another amendment that would have exempted from the means test individuals who have incurred substantial medical debt on behalf of dependent or non-dependent family members, such as a parent or grandparent, or who have experienced a reduction in employment status while caring for such a family member. In addition, he voted against an amendment to provide a homestead exemption of at least $150,000 of the equity in the property the debtor uses as a primary residence if the bankruptcy stems from medical expenses. [S 256, Vote 16, 3/02/05, Failed 39-58: R 0-54 D 38-4 I 1-0; S 256, Vote 18, 3/02/05, Failed 37-60: R 0-54 D 37-5 I 0-1; S 256, Vote 17, 3/02/05, Failed 39-58: R 0-54 D 38-4 I 1-0]
2001: McCain Voted Against Exempted Debtors Who File For Bankruptcy Because Of High Medical Expenses. During the debate on 2001 bankruptcy reform bill, McCain voted against an amendment that would have exempted debtors who file for bankruptcy because of high medical expenses. [S 420, Vote 16, 3/7/01, Failed 34-65: R 0-49 D 34-16]
McCain Voted Against A Measure Authored By Joe Lieberman That Included A Provision To Exempt Hurricane Katrina Victims From the 2005 Bankruptcy Law. In 2005, McCain voted against a measure sponsored by Sen. Joe Lieberman to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, which included a provision to exempt the victims of the hurricane from the 2005 bankruptcy law. During the debate on the measure, Lieberman described his amendment, saying "for victims of Hurricane Katrina and survivors living in the area of hardship, it would extend the bankruptcy protections under current law that would otherwise soon go out of effect with the adoption of the recent Bankruptcy Act. This is the stuff of enabling people to put their lives back together. It is very human, it is very personal, it is real, and it is very urgently needed." [HR 2862, Vote 234, 9/15/05, Failed 43-52: R 1-51 D 41-1 I 1-0; Congressional Record, 9/15/05]
McCain Supported The 2001 Bankruptcy Bill, and the 2005 Bankruptcy Law that Made It Harder for Families to Get a New Start After a Financial Crisis. In 2001, McCain voted for the bankruptcy reform legislation that would have made it tougher for people to erase credit card and other debt in bankruptcy court. In 2005, McCain voted for the final bankruptcy reform bill that was signed into law by President Bush. [S 256, Vote 44, 3/10/05, Passed 74-25, D 18-25, R 55-0, I 1-0; HR 333, Vote 236, 7/17/01, Passed 82-16: R 45-2 D 36-14 I 1-0; S. 420, 3/15/01, Vote 36, Passed 83-15: R: 47-2 D 36-13]
McCain Voted Against Creating A Federal Homestead Exemption Of $75,000 For Debtors Over The Age Of 62. McCain voted against an amendment to the 2005 bankruptcy bill that would have created a federal homestead exemption of $75,000 for debtors over the age of 62. [S. 256, Vote 14, 3/2/05]