Plain Dealer columnist Kevin O’Brien always has a rational take on politics, and his column yesterday, “'The Obamacare website works now' joins the list of White House howlers,” hit some bulls-eyes (useful for conversations around leftover and upcoming turkey dinners):
The Obama administration has fixed the website. It is now officially good (enough). Just ask 'em and they'll tell you: "The website works. You like the website. These aren't the droids you're looking for."
. . .
Americans will get to spend the next couple of years finding out: a) whether they actually did manage to sign up for some kind of health insurance on the website; b) whether the website actually did manage to forward to some insurance company somewhere enough accurate data to make any specific individual recognizable to the health care system; and c) whether government-directed health care is actually as wonderful as our stark-naked emperor would have us believe.
The answer to a) and b) is going to be "no" in thousands — maybe millions — of cases.
The website has been screwed up long enough to do some serious damage. The chances that it is working properly now are roughly nil, so people who sign up after All Fixed Day are very likely to have their essential data dropped or scrambled, too.
It will take months or years just to discover whose records are mangled and the straightening-out will take years, for sure. Remember, this is a project undertaken by people who don't know what they're doing and who don't particularly care how the results affect individual lives.
. . .
Is there any reason whatsoever to believe that a government that can so completely bungle something as straightforward as the design and introduction of a website will do better with something as complicated as the management of a health care system that comprises one-sixth of the U.S. economy?
On Cyber Monday, the day after the White House proclaimed that all was well (enough) with the Obamacare website because it could handle 50,000 simultaneous visits (it can't), Amazon.com was making hundreds of sales per second to millions of customers without breaking a sweat. The rest of the retail side of the Web was humming, too — and quite efficiently.
Why should they be so efficient and the government be so inept? Because the government has no competition, makes the rules of the phony market and has compelled everyone to buy into its system.
Retailers compete with one another for every discretionary dollar and Americans have infinite options regarding what to spend and from whom to buy.
But in the phony market for U.S. health insurance, the government is both the proprietor and the sole customer.
Americans will pay what the government requires. They will wait until the government says it's their turn. They will get the treatment the government approves, and no more. They will put up with whatever inconveniences prove necessary for the government's convenience.
It's a deeply un-American way of doing anything, and every bit of it has been based on a pack of lies that cynically played on the hopes of the innocent and the ignorant. When it was rammed through Congress in the dead of night, the Republicans had proposed more than 30 alternatives. It's hard to believe that any of them would have been a worse idea.
We need to repeal Obamacare and start over. But even badly misplaced hope dies hard, and the Democrats have made it clear that they will pull down the economy rather than give up the political advantage that comes with being able to threaten voters with the loss of health care.
Misplaced hope awaits the day when this president keeps a promise.
A wiser hope awaits 2016 and deliverance from tyranny.
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The full article is here.