John McCain versus Barack Obama. White versus black. Oldie versus newbie. Veteran versus rookie. Call it what you want, but this year’s ticket holds two of the most polar opposite candidates you can imagine. With each political stance, from the war in Iraq to the economy, about the only thing these guys actually agree on is the current administration sucks. They’re not beating around the Bush; they’re beating directly on the Bush.

To be perfectly honest, I think both candidates have decent policies on several issues, as different as they may be. While I would prefer McCain’s strategy in Iraq, I think Obama may have a long enough timeline for a safe and secure departure. While I would prefer McCain’s strategy to tax breaks, maybe Obama’s will jumpstart the middle class into creating a new and improved upper class.

Unfortunately, those pairs of reasonable policies crumble away when it comes to health care. Forty million people do not have health insurance. McCain promises to provide $5,000 tax credits to those families so that they may go buy insurance fit for their needs. Obama mandates equal, free health care for all. Both men plan on getting health care to all that need it, but they go about it in two very different ways, and one is far better than the other.

Competition is the cornerstone of this nation’s success. When businesses have competition, prices are naturally driven down. McCain’s plan encourages competition, and won’t cost the government or taxpayers anything extra. Obama’s plan erases competition, and not only will cost taxpayers an arm and a leg, but will completely eliminate the already deteriorating efficiency of doctors’ offices across the nation.

Efficiency is an interesting word. We should change the definition of the word from “skillfulness in avoiding wasted time and effort” to “that which is not government-run.” If you think the government has the means to effectively run healthcare across the nation, then you’re the type of person who looks forward to visiting the DMV. Impossible appointments, long lines and frustrating employees will be the great things to look forward to when you schedule a visit to your family practitioner. If everyone has equal coverage, 300 million people can go to their nearest doctor’s office with anything from a runny nose to imaginary small pox.

Universal coverage means free doctor visits and coverage, with Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer footing the bill. Decreased doctor flexibility will lead to poorer patient care, and government regulations may even drive doctors away in search of freer markets. If you think insurance companies are hard to work with, try the government. Bureaucrats will install never-ending restrictions, limiting doctors’ abilities to treat injuries or illnesses with top-of-the-line medicine.

Everyone needs coverage, but not equal coverage. Provide assistance to those who need it, but do so in a way to promote a competitive environment in which doctors and their patients can choose their own medicinal practices and allow those that are willing to pay for better insurance to get it.