Mr. President, you’re going to go to Boston to speak in support of the Affordable Care Act? You want to do that because Republicans enacted model health care legislation here in 2006? Perhaps you think coming to Boston is a good way to make Republicans admit their error when they criticize you for taking the Massachusetts disaster national.
In fact, Massachusetts is a model of how people can make do when government imposes stupid ideas, policies, mandates, procedures, rationing, prices, prohibitions, and ideological, hare-brained, plainly misdirected schemes on them. Everyone who looks at the mess in this Democratic state says, “What we really need here is a single-payer system.” When your health care policy is so unworkable that you think a single-payer system would be an improvement, you’ve taken a wrong turn.
What does the president think will happen when he comes to Boston to tout his own disaster? You tell doctors they’re going to work for the state now, then give propaganda speeches about how everyone is going to be healthier now. That’s like telling farmers they’ll work for the state, then telling everyone they’ll be better fed while people around you die of starvation. Our health care policy is in trouble, folks. The solution does not lie in forcing doctors, employers, insurers, patients, and providers in every sector of the health care industry to work under rules issued by the state.
Why do we think the state is competent to manage our country’s health care system? Everyone seized on October’s problems with HealthCare.gov, understandably enough, with the idea that if we fix these problems, we’ll be back in business. Bring on the A-team to move ahead. When the A-team fails, we’ll try other technical, procedural, legal, and institutional fixes. When you’ve committed to a certain strategy, as Democrats have for health care, the strategic plan defines your set of admissible options.
All manner of government corruption, malfeasance and misdirection shows we can accustom ourselves to government incompetence. We can learn to live with the problems and restrictions government imposes on us. That does not mean we are better off. It only shows that our capacity to adapt also erases our vision of what life might be like, if we didn’t have parasitic leaders who want to manage it for us.
When we ask government to manage our health care for us, we ask it to take responsibility for a complicated activity outside its competence. We saw what happened at the San Francisco airport this summer when two Korean airline pilots attempted a landing outside their competence. Now President Obama comes to Boston to explain why Kathleen Sebelius should take responsibility for a task that is clearly outside her competence. What leader, at this point, will say, “We have to stop what we’re doing. If we don’t change course, bad things will happen.” In health care, unlike a plane crash, bad things happen more slowly and less visibly.
That’s why we adapt so well.
The Outrage Arrives, by Holman Jenkins