"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Obamacare Incompetence

Joe Klein, an old school liberal Democratic columnist for the nearly defunct Time magazine, today has penned an article which may be the beginning of the long walk-back of the Democratic Party from the looming disaster that is Obamacare.   It's called "Obamacare Incompetence."  

Here's the predicate.   Recently the Obama Administration announced that it would not meet the law's deadline -- a key point here:  the deadline is written into the actual law, and missing it is therefore, by definition, illegal -- for creating the insurance exchanges that are the centerpiece of the entire Rube Goldbert contraption!   Here's what Klein has to say about this failure:

Let me try to understand this: The key incentive for small businesses to support Obamacare was that they would be able to shop for the best deals in health care super-stores—called exchanges. The Administration has had 3 years to set up these exchanges. It has failed to do so.
This is a really bad sign. There will be those who argue that it’s not the Administration’s fault. It’s the fault of the 33 states that have refused to set up their own exchanges. Nonsense. Where was the contingency planning? There certainly are models, after all—the federal government’s own health benefits plan (FEHBP) operates markets that exist in all 50 states. So does Medicare Advantage. But now, the Obama Administration has announced that it won’t have the exchanges ready in time, that small businesses will be offered one choice for the time being—for a year, at least. No doubt, small business owners will be skeptical of the Obama Administration’s belief in the efficacy of the market system to produce lower prices through competition. That was supposed to be the point of this plan....
...we are now seeing weekly examples of this Administration’s inability to govern. Just a few weeks ago, I reported on the failure of the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration to come up with a unified electronic health care records system. There has also been the studied inattention to the myriad of ineffective job training programs scattered through the bureaucracy. There have been the oblique and belated efforts to reform Head Start, a $7 billion program that a study conducted by its own bureaucracy—the Department of Health and Human Services—has found nearly worthless. The list is endless.
...as a Democrat—as someone who believes in activist government—he has a vested interest in seeing that federal programs actually work efficiently. I don’t see much evidence that this is anywhere near the top of his priorities.
One thing is clear: Obamacare will fail if he doesn’t start paying more attention to the details of implementation, if he doesn’t start demanding action. And, in a larger sense, the notion of activist government will be in peril—despite the demographics flowing the Democrats’ way—if institutions like the VA and Obamacare don’t deliver the goods.

I would put it much differently, because I come at this from a different (and truer) perspective on the world.   In my view, Obamacare will fail inevitably because it must fail, because attempts to organize economic activity as large as the one-sixth of the American economy represented by the American health care sector -- in other words, to create a socialist centrally-planned health care state economy that is bigger than the Soviet Union's or Communist China's entire economies when they tried to implement similar central planning -- are impossible.   It's not just the incompetence of this particular administration; it's that the problems of administration posed by Obamacare are fundamentally not solvable.  

But if liberals are starting to notice the incompetence of the Obama Administration, good.   On our part, conservatives can say "I told you so," but not without some sadness, since what is happening is the decline and fall of the American civilization.  


By the way, it's not just incompetence.   It's also cynicism.   The reason why the implementation of the exchanges must be postponed to 2015 is because there are elections in November 2014 that Obama wants to win.   He's afraid that if the debacle is implemented in January 2014, the American people will rise up and give Republicans a huge victory in the midterms.   If he can hide the ball from them until 2015, he hopes, he can then use a Democratic House and Senate to really turn America into his socialist dystopia.  

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