The problem with screwing up something as badly as the administration appears to have screwed up the Obamacare rollout is that you don’t just get egg on your face, you create huge problems for those who support you. I still hope that Obamacare is the critical first step toward universal health coverage – and ultimately a single-payer system, which many doctors insist is the only way to provide it. But we are now in danger of heading in the opposite direction, as feckless Democrats rush for political cover. The current comparisons to George Bush’s bungled reaction to Katrina seem unwarranted because (1) Bush hadn’t spent the previous five years planning for a large hurricane and (2) his administration’s response seemed based as much on callousness as incompetence. The Affordable Care Act, on the other hand, was meant to be about compassion – particularly for the millions of Americans without health coverage. It was the president’s signature act and meant to be his legacy. Now its opponents tout it as Exhibit A of government’s inability to do anything.
People warned me that the law was not 11,000 pages for nothing – that it was meant to obscure the giveaways to all manner of special interests, including the insurance companies who now dance happily atop what they hope is Obamacare’s grave. Meanwhile, America continues to have the most expensive, least comprehensive and most bureaucratic (yes, insurance companies are bureaucracies, too) health care of any developed country. We can’t afford to fumble away the chance to change that.