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ObamaCare: the mistake America could not afford

ObamaCare: the mistake America could not afford

Journalistic icon Bob Woodward has been in hot water with the Obama Administration and its more enthusiastic apologists for a while now.  He’s not going to get any more popular with that crowd after his appearance on “Fox News Sunday” last weekend, in which he related a conversation with a doctor he described as a “very knowledgeable, very involved supporter of ObamaCare” who nevertheless described it as similar to “a car stuck in first gear.”

When Woodward asked this ObamaCare-supporting doctor when he thought second gear might kick in, the response was, “Honestly, years!” because, to continue the clunker car analogy, “the transmission is in the shop for repairs.”

This led to a remarkable burst of blubbering from one of our dwindling supply of ObamaCare apologists, Juan Williams, who sobbed that nobody was trying to count up enrollment numbers or calculate sustainability when Mitt Romney rolled out his health care plan in Massachusetts, and those mean old green-eyeshade-wearing Republicans should just put their evil accounting witchery on hold and give ObamaCare a few years to creak and shudder into second gear.

Which nicely illustrates one of the core idiocies animating ObamaCare apologists: they’ve arrogantly insisted on refusing to accept the very obvious point that Massachusetts is not equivalent to the entire United States of America.  A program that more-or-less works in one state (and there have always been plenty of critics, both locally and nationally, who think “less” is a better description of how well RomneyCare works) can prove both Constitutionally offensive and unsustainable on the national level.  It’s such an obvious point that it seems ludicrous to have to explain it to adult citizens of the United States, over and over again.  Mitt Romney tried to do so on the campaign trail, but frankly he didn’t make the point nearly as well as he should have, and the fact that he had to make it at all was a burden upon his campaign.  Like ObamaCare, Romney’s campaign ended up stuck in first gear, trying to explain a high-information concept to low-information voters, while the Idiocracy ran around telling people that Mitt Romney gave a steel worker’s wife cancer just by looking at her.

Let us focus upon a very simple reason Romneycare could survive in Massachusetts – until the incompetence of Barack Obama and his team turned even that state into an ObamaCare nightmare – while the Affordable Care Act doesn’t work across the whole of the United States: money.  ObamaCare is hideously expensive, and only a portion of the cost is borne by the inflated insurance premiums so many of its subjects are expected to pay.  It’s the worst Cash for Clunkers scheme Obama has come up with yet – it’s costing us billions to get the ACA clunker into second gear.  We can’t afford to spend more billions every year while bureaucrats fiddle with the clutch and gear shift, especially since ObamaCare’s critics – who have always understand the law far better than its supporters – think third gear will never kick in.

“After four years of implementation, countless delays, a website disaster, and constant litigation, the Affordable Care Act celebrates its inauspicious birthday this week,” says the introduction to a new study from the American Action Forum.  “From a regulatory perspective, the law has imposed more than $27.2 billion in total private sector costs, $8 billion in unfunded state burdens, and more than 159 million paperwork hours on local governments and affected entities. What’s more troubling, the law has generated just $2.6 billion in annualized benefits, compared to $6.8 billion in annualized costs. In other words, the ACA has imposed 2.5 times more costs than it has produced in benefits.”

159 million paperwork hours is more than double what the hideously complicated, economy-retarding Dodd-Frank law dumped on Americans – enough of a burden to keep eighty thousand people working 2,000 hours per year.  Of course, Big Government liberals believe private-sector time is without value – you should be happy to spend hours expressing your patriotism by wrestling with mandatory paperwork! – but even government agencies, such as HHS and the Treasury, are paying for millions of hours of paper-shuffling due to the Affordable Care Act.  Or, more to the point, they’re forcing you to pay for it by funding these bloated agencies, but at least they acknowledge the cost exists, unlike the private-sector compliance costs they try to obscure.

ObamaCare imposes costs far beyond paperwork compliance, of course.  All those mandates, plus dozens of hidden taxes, siphon more billions out of the private economy.  And all this for a law that has, thus far, actually increased the number of uninsured Americans!  But even if the ACA survives and finally climbs into “second gear” one of these years, the meager potential increase in the insured population becomes utterly ridiculous when measured against the exorbitant cost.  Instead of wasting billions and wrecking the insurance industry to give a handful of people access to lousy insurance policies with huge out-of-pocket costs, we could have bought every uninsured person in America circa 2008 a Cadillac health care plan for a fraction of the cost.

The scale of expense associated with ObamaCare is staggering, and it finances a system the majority of Americans hate.  When the apologists for this system whine that we need to give it a decade or two before we pass final judgment, they’re not just telling us to mute our criticism (as if they have any right to make that demand!)  They’re commanding us to pour billions more dollars into a system that has already wasted enormous sums, while failing to keep any of the promises it was sold under.

ObamaCare is an expensive fraud.  Why should we spend a few more years watching the hucksters who sold us this lemon grind its gears, grinning through a river of sweat as they promise it will take off like a rocket any day now?  Shall we discuss the agonizing opportunity cost of time lost while we struggle with this failed program, rather than implementing real reforms that would benefit our health care system?  And does anyone remember the Clunker-Salesman-in-Chief warning us that it would take years of time, and billions of dollars in expenses, before his scheme started firing on all cylinders… or that it would take a hundred million hours a year in paperwork to keep it running?

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