Joe Klein recently wrote, ObamaCare incompetence (via memeorandum)

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 superstores — called exchanges. The Administration has had three 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.

Mary Katharine Ham writes at Hot Air, “I never thought it’d feel this good to agree with Joe Klein.”

I don’t. That is, I don’t agree with Joe Klein. Klein’s argument is that ObamaCare could work if the administration would just do its part. While I can’t argue the point of the administration’s incompetence (or malfeasance), Klein’s premise is wrong.

As Charles Krauthammer said:

This is what happens when you have an administration that has the idea that it can reform, remake and completely re-regulate one sixth of the biggest economy on planet earth. I mean, I’m not surprised that the regulations are late and they are unclear. And they are also incredibly arbitrary. The waivers people get, thousands of them, who gets it? Who doesn’t? Somebody whom the government or the Democrats or liberals like? Somebody that is not liked? Are you going to get a waiver?

Look, when you take away the essence of insurance – insurance, you set a premium according to actuarial risk. So, if you are 60 your healthcare costs are six times what it is for a 20-year-old. So, your premiums are six times as much. But, the Congress in its wisdom has decided it should be three times instead of six. So once you do that you no longer have an insurance company. This is not insurance anymore. This is regulation, this is government dictated rates, like the electrical company and people are surprised that all of a sudden you have got all these things that aren’t working harmoniously as you would in a market.

ObamaCare is so complex it can’t work.

James Taranto critiques Klein from a different angle too:

There’s also something odd about the way Klein framed the problem. Democrats and Republicans, he suggested, give short shrift to managerial effectiveness for opposite reasons: Democrats because they’re more concerned about increasing the size of government, Republicans because they’re (supposedly) more interested in reducing it.

But actually that’s the same reason: Both parties are more interested in what government should do than in how it should do it. Even if Republicans on the whole haven’t actually been determined to shrink government–and we should note that isn’t as true as it used to be, thanks to the Tea Party movement–they at least differ with Democrats over how fast and how big it should grow. Whereas every Republican voted against ObamaCare because it was too big, most Democrats voted against Medicare Part D because it was too small.

What Klein wishes for is a division of labor in which the two parties would cooperate to make government bigger. He’d like the Republicans to reinvent themselves as a nonideological party devoted to effective management, which would allow the Democrats to focus on expanding government. In such a world, Democrats would face no serious resistance to their legislative efforts, and there would be less risk of ObamaCare-style failures because the elephants’ job would be to clean up after the donkeys.

In the end, though, the problem isn’t the incompetence of implementation but the impossibility of  achieving the advertised results.