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Topics: Obamacare

Examiner Editorial: Obamacare is a 19th-century answer to a 21st-century question

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It is unlikely that anybody outside of the Washington-New York-Boston corridor was surprised by President Obama's decisions to delay the Obamacare

employer mandate for a year and to gut verification procedures for individuals seeking health care insurance subsidies from the government. Those developments were entirely predictable to common-sense Americans who understand that a government takeover of one-sixth of the economy represents a magnitude of bureaucratic complexity far beyond even the capabilities of a nation that detonated the fIRSt atomic bomb, sent a man to the moon and oversees Social Security and Medicare. So it was inevitable, after Democratic Sen. Max Baucus said full implementation was heading for a "train wreck," that the president would seek to buy some time for key Obamacare mandates. The alternative was a political kamikaze plunge when the law was supposed to go into full effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

What none of the program's advocates will ever likely admit, however, is that Obamacare's problems aren't simply a product of Republican opposition (just count all those multiple meaningless House votes since 2011 to "repeal" Obama-care), or the plodding federal bureaucracy (thousands of pages of new Obamacare regulations issued in the past year prove otherwise), or lack of funding (congressional GOP leaders aren't brave enough to force the issue), or a shortage of political will (is there anything the IRS won't do?). The fact is that Obamacare has stalled because the 19th century liberal vision of government as benevolent Leviathan has crashed head-on into 21st century reality.

The digitization of social interaction, economic transaction, the political process and everything in between is decentralizing the world, moving it in the opposite direction of the massive centralization of Obamacare.

The Wall Street Journal's Daniel Henninger captured it well with this observation last week: "Even if you are a liberal and support the goals of the Affordable Care Act, there has to be an emerging sense that maybe the law's theorists missed a signal from life outside the castle walls. While they troweled brick after brick into a 2,000-page law, the rest of the world was reshaping itself into smaller, more nimble units whose defining metaphor is the 140-character Twitter message."

Simply put, the digitization of social interaction, economic transaction, the political process and everything in between is decentralizing the world, moving it in the opposite direction of the massive centralization of Obamacare. But nobody needs a federal bureaucrat to tell him what health insurance to buy when anybody with an Internet connection can simultaneously solicit bids from dozens of competing providers, pay the winner via electronic fund transfer, manage the claims process with a laptop, consult with physicians and other medical specialists via email, and even be operated on remotely by surgeons on the other side of the globe. Rather than imposing a top-down, command-economy, welfare-state health care model with roots in Otto von Bismarck's Germany of 1881, a 21st century government would ask what is needed to apply to health care access the Internet's boundless capacity to empower individual choice.

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