From yesterday’s Best of the Web in the WSJ:
The more interesting question, it seems to us, is whether this is as good as ObamaCare gets. Klein’s acknowledgment of disaster, candid though it is, is limited in its scope. He addresses only the technical problems, not ObamaCare’s screwy economic assumptions.
ObamaCare promised a free lunch: universal (or near-universal) coverage at lower cost without any diminution of quality or choice. It’s a perpetual-motion machine. But even the Supreme Court can’t strike down the laws of physics. If a large number of people benefit from ObamaCare–itself a big if–somebody has to pay. Much of the burden was supposed to fall on young, healthy people, who frequently do not have medical insurance. To compensate for price controls on premiums for patients with pre-existing conditions, their premiums would be jacked up. Somehow higher prices are supposed to induce them to get insured.
If anything, ObamaCare’s technical problems have delayed its economic shock. That’s by design, Forbes’s Avik Roy argues:
Healthcare.gov forces you to create an account and enter detailed personal information before you can start shopping. This, in turn, creates a massive traffic bottleneck, as the government verifies your information and decides whether or not you’re eligible for subsidies. HHS bureaucrats knew this would make the website run more slowly. But they were more afraid that letting people see the underlying cost of Obamacare’s insurance plans would scare people away.
Even the New York Times, in a well-reported front-page story Sunday, acknowledged the administration cut corners in the website design for political reasons:
To avoid giving ammunition to Republicans opposed to the project, the administration put off issuing several major rules until after last November’s elections. The Republican-controlled House blocked funds. More than 30 states refused to set up their own exchanges, requiring the federal government to vastly expand its project in unexpected ways.
The stakes rose even higher when Congressional opponents forced a government shutdown in the latest fight over the health care law, which will require most Americans to have health insurance. Administration officials dug in their heels, repeatedly insisting that the project was on track despite evidence to the contrary.