Wall Street Journal columnist examines political implications of Obamacare’s failures

Daniel Henninger devotes a Wall Street Journal column to the potential political fallout stemming from the Affordable Care Act’s well-documented implementation problems.

Out in the world beyond what Washington manufactures and spins, no one would get away with putting out a product as flawed as ObamaCare. Today’s public won’t accept that kind of performance. From the largest consumer-product companies down to the local sandwich shop, you’ve got to deliver the goods at a sustained level of competent execution. Not everyone deserves a gold badge from J.D. Power, but by and large it has become very difficult to sustain a shoddy product in the marketplace anymore.

Except the government. And the Democratic Party is nothing if not the party whose identity is bound up with government services and the public unions that deliver those services.

Good enough for government work was once just a joke. Some years ago I sat with a roomful of people in lower Manhattan’s federal Social Security office for a half hour with no discernible forward movement. The clerks seemed to have disappeared. Suddenly a frustrated lady shot up and screamed, “This place is worse than the department of motor vehicles!” To which the guard at the door responded: “Oh no, ma’am. They’re still worse than we are.”

For decades, voters have passed off this mediocrity as the sometimes maddening bureaucratic price for living in a large, complex country. No longer. With every new reboot of ObamaCare—glitches to the horizon, the constant revision of the law’s rules, policies canceled and resurrected at higher cost—more of America’s workaday Dilberts are seeing that the Democrats’ performance benchmarks would get anyone else fired. Nowhere else could you get away with arguing a product like this is at least better than nothing.

And they won’t even apologize! When the first ObamaCare problems erupted, its supporters said: It’s the law, get over it. Even now, the smart alecks in the Obama administration responsible for ObamaCare, backed by a chorus of left-wing wonks in the media, make it sound as if you are too dense to comprehend the law’s inevitable benefits.

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