Single Payer or Obamacare - it may be what we need, but I'm not ready to try it out yet. When over 50% of the country is against it, when it had to be passed with legislative tricks, arm-twisting and bribery, when it was created with over 2,000 pages of legislation and required the hiring of 16,000 new IRS agents - something smells fishy.
On the other hand, to open up health insurance markets for competition across state lines is a very simple stroke of the pen. To pass a law limiting non-medical awards in malpractice suits is pretty low-level legislation. To allow insurance companies to find their own markets, to decide what they want to cover and let them succeed or fail based on their ability to compete - to offer real tax incentives to consumers rather than corporations, and to take the burden of non-payment off the backs of hospitals - all of this is so simple, so elegant - why not try it first?
It worked in New Jersey in the auto industry. State regulations were so prohibitive that most insurance companies chose not to do business there. They had been put in place to "Protect" the NJ drivers, under the belief that left to their own devices, insurance companies would deny, deny, deny to save money. There was a state pool to cover uninsured drivers. Prior to 2003, car insurance for two adults with used cars and no tickets or accidents was almost $4,000 per year, and there were no other options. No Geico, no State Farm, no Prudential. "Not Available In New Jersey" was the tagline for all their ads. People scammed the system - registering their cars in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware just to be able to buy cheaper car insurance.
Then in 2003, the state regulations were lifted. Companies flocked to NJ to open up new markets, and instead of denying coverage, different companies found creative ways to INCREASE their coverage and keep their prices down. Fleet discounts for more than two cars. Combined car/homeowner's insurance. Declining scale of deductibles for safe driving. Discounts for things like higher education or group membership. By 2005, this same pair of two drivers was paying less than half the amount for the same two cars, PLUS two additional drivers. (I know, because those two drivers were my wife and myself, and eventually my two kids).
So why not try it? If it works, it will eliminate the need for those 16,000 IRS agents, and Obama will have to find another way to create jobs. Companies will start hiring people again, no longer fearing that they will be "punished" for their expansion by unforeseen increases in healthcare costs. Issues like the one surrounding Sandra Fluke will not exist - Catholics will NOT be pitted against women's organizations; coverage for things like birth control or abortion can be offered by companies who seek that niche, and not offered by companies who don't, and people like Fluke can walk away from Georgetown's policy and buy her own.
My dad was a surgeon - but even though that was his bread and butter, he tried to avoid it at all costs. Rest, physical therapy, braces, Cortisone injections, splints - he would try every non-radical procedure available before picking up a knife. I think Congress ought to follow the same course.
Obamacare is a radical, sweeping change - putting power in the hands of a group of arrogant, exclusionary, self-motivated incompetent boobs, each with their own agenda. It will completely destroy an entire industry, and if it doesn't work, there will be no going back.
The other option will preserve and expand an industry, and if IT doesn't work, we can THEN try Obamacare.
It just makes more sense.