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Obamacare failing from impossibility not just incompetence

Obamacare failing from impossibility not just incompetence

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.


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It was not designed to work. It was designed to destroy the current system so that a socialized system could be put in place.

    David Yotham in reply to paulejb. | April 5, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Yes; designed to destroy a free market economy. Whether is should work or not, I do not believe, has much influence with the goals of Obama. Should the Obama Health Care mandate, along with all the other regulations and manipulations, put America on her knees – then Obama will feel he has been successful.

    casualobserver in reply to paulejb. | April 5, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    I’d say that a little differently: It was designed by progressive think tanks (who wrote the majority of it) to eventually be both unworkable and entrenched so that the least costly and least impacting remedy would be a switch to a single payer system. Most requirements and regulations wouldn’t change, for example free birth control. Just the management and collection mechanisms will need to be redefined.

    It’s pretty clear the effort was nearly all focused on the outcome – mandatory and universal coverage (men and women alike paying for female and male specific procedures, e.g.) and not on the systems to administrate it. That it may become hated and unbearable to a plurality earlier than expected is probably seen as a good thing by its authors and also by the elected Dems who voted for it, as well as those who are newly placed but supportive.

    It’s a crappy way to govern…

Socialists ALWAYS lay blame by saying the perfect plan was implemented imperfectly. Why change that?

Don’t forget that the Administration also played hide the ball with many of the implementation details in order to avoid them becoming an issue during the last presidential campaign.

So in additional to fecklessness they are also guilty of letting politics trump responsible governance, much less national interest.

I don’t think that anyone can deny that the delivery of health care in this country needs an overhaul but the real question is how do it efficiently maximizing the bang for the buck.

To me the answer is rather simple and direct… Simplify the process of the current system and perhaps create a self sustaining public option with very strict and limited applications.

Of course, the term, “simplify,” simply does not exist in the bureaucratic vernacular. So instead, their public option piled on layers of management and of course the now infamous “navigators” which are nothing more than political plum rewards for loyal democrat operatives.

Hence, NOTHING positive is happening nor will it happen in the future.

I worked for quite a few years in the process engineering game and know full well that it IS a matter of process, something that the regime in DC cannot or refuses to recognize. Simplify that process and just watch the savings accumulate!

Yep… We are beginning to look more like Europe everyday or worse. And don’t look for any improvements anytime soon..

    Ragspierre in reply to GrumpyOne. | April 5, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    What’s wrong with the system that got us up to the FDR years?

    My doctor and I decide on what, and at what price, medical stuff I need. I chooooooooose what I can afford.

    IFFFFF I can’t afford a needed health care option, I look to my family, my friends, and my community for help.

    Works every time it is tried.

    casualobserver in reply to GrumpyOne. | April 5, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    The ‘existing’ insurance AND healthcare provision system both suffer from bad government twiddling. The need for overhaul is just as much or more a result of bad regulation and policy-making.

    But the solutions By Washington will always be OF Washington, even for the non-progressives. As to ‘simplify’ would mean some kind of reduction in rules, there would likely be a corresponding drop in federal influence and ultimately a power shift back to insurance providers, doctors, and patients. That completely contradicts the goal of most elected officials – namely to INCREASE their importance in the lives of constituents. So, solutions almost always are more of whatever isn’t getting the job done. While this is categorical true of every old and new Dem in Congress, there is still a too tiny minority in the GOP to make any big change. I think we are stuck in the Catch-22 of more regulation to fix regulation that was enacted due to other bad regulation, which……..

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

Disagree. The problem is the Role of Government.

    Ragspierre in reply to Owego. | April 5, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Well, it is ALL THAT, and MORE.

    It is immoral, for one thing. My government has no right intruding on my choices in life on the pretext that I might impose “social costs”. Screw that.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | April 5, 2013 at 5:15 pm

They never anticipated Scott Brown would win. They expected to keep the veto-proof Senate, which would have enabled them to fix Obamacare before it became law.

Once Scott Brown was elected, they had two choices. The prudent choice would have been to give up, start over, and create a real reform plan on a bi-partisan basis. Then both parties would own the results and as flaws became apparent during implementation, both parties would have an incentive to work together to fix sub-optimal results.

The Democrats chose not to be rational. They chose to use a shady procedural trick called reconciliation to pass what they knew was a heaping, steaming pile of dung on a purely partisan basis. The plan was to get as many people hooked on it as possible, so repeal would be impractical politically.

They knew virtually everything they said about it was a lie. They lied about the true cost. Which means they also lied about the taxes required to finance it. They lied about being able to keep your existing plan. They even lied about “death panels”. The IPAB is 15 unelected bureaucrats who will broadly decide who will be eligible for certain procedures and how much doctors can be paid for performing the procedure. By law, IPAB’s decision can not be challenged in court. So if you have a group making life/death decisions, who are not elected, and whose decisions can not be challenged, why is that not a “death panel”?

The Democrat Party that has emerged over the past 30-40 years is essentially a legal criminal enterprise. First they enriched Democrat Party clients with the nearly $1 trillion stimulus. Then they orchestrated what will be the biggest, continuous, ongoing transfer of wealth in the history of civilization to private insurance companies under the guise of Obamacare. Finally, they’ve used taxpayer money to pay off rich Democrat donors who own alternative energy companies. It’s all a gigantic con game.

And they just got rewarded for the lies and the thievery by being re-elected. Which tells you how dumbed down the electorate really is.

legalizehazing | April 5, 2013 at 5:58 pm

obamacare like this whole elected government is a fast moving train wreck. It’s like a blitzkrieg into a wall. It’s a nonstop awful failing policy train wreck and all the media is smiling an clapping as if it were Jackie Robinson’s first home run.

LukeHandCool | April 5, 2013 at 6:44 pm

“Obamacare failing from impossibility not just incompetence”

Impossibility is the intersection of incompetence and progressivism.

We should prepare to intersect preparation with opportunity should we be so lucky.

The Democrats knew Obamacare wouldn’t work. They’re not stupid. They’re ideologues.

They think it’s better to have a progressive plan that doesn’t work than have a free-market system that does. It doesn’t matter that people and the economy will be hurt. They don’t care. Their ideology trumps everything.

They know what they’re doing.

With princess barry there is nothing that cannot be made impossible through incompetence. In the sac-licking media this is known as the new normal.

Henry Hawkins | April 5, 2013 at 10:05 pm

It’s classic – government interference via regulations, taxes, etc. drives up the cost of health care and everything connected to it, beginning with health insurance. Once the costs of care delivery and insurance become unmanagable and unsustainable, the government – which caused the problem in the first place – declares their need to step in and take it all over. You know – fix it. They’re always fixing it and we should be grateful.

It’s all a Rube Goldberg device stumbling forward with the speed of an iceberg, destroying everything it encounters in grindingly slow motion.

    Estragon in reply to Henry Hawkins. | April 6, 2013 at 12:50 am

    I was with you until you slandered Rube Goldberg. His devices were certainly not direct, but at least achieved their designed goal in the end.

Mister Natural | April 6, 2013 at 5:42 am

just another ingredient in the cloward-piven pie

Mister Natural | April 6, 2013 at 5:46 am

unless that’s the plan why are we rushing headlong into adopting a model of economics that is failing in Europe right before our very eyes