Court ruling shines light on Obamacare’s problems

Kevin Williamson of National Review Online uses the recent federal court ruling against the Affordable Care Act to remind readers about that legislation’s fundamental problems.

[T]he problem with Obamacare isn’t one federal judge. The problem with Obamacare isn’t Republicans. The problem with Obamacare is Obamacare.

The Affordable Care Act is a clumsy, clunky, ill-begotten legislative program executed with approximately the skill that a team of dead-average chimpanzees would bring to rebuilding the engine of a Ferrari GTC4Lusso. It was a mess, and it remains a mess — and that is not a view exclusive to Republicans. Democrats began working to get rid of parts of the law — notably the “Cadillac” tax that so annoyed their union constituency — before it was even implemented. (That tax has not been repealed, but its implementation has been delayed until at least 2022, at which point it most likely will be delayed again or removed from the legislation.) Exemptions and special considerations were handed out as freely as condoms at a Marin County kindergarten. Republicans hate the law — but Democrats have found a lot to dislike about it, too. The distance between Democrats’ stated preferences and their revealed preferences vis-à-vis the ACA is almost as wide as the gap between Professor Krugman’s reputation as an economist and his reputation as a newspaper columnist.

As The Editors wrote here after the federal ruling, Obamacare “addressed real, if sometimes exaggerated, problems, but did so at an unnecessarily high cost.” It also did so in an unnecessarily complicated and destructive fashion, in part because it tried to do too many things at once. The Democrats let political considerations trump considerations of good governance: They believed that if they could just get some kind of national health-care program into place, then they could tinker with it ad infinitum after the fact, believing with good reason that once Americans were hooked on the subsidies then they’d be willing to pay the price to service that addiction.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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