Best Strategy For ObamaCare? Let It Collapse
"I Don't Mind A Parasite. I Object To A Cut-Rate One."
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That’s what Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal recommends. The secondary headline of his opinion piece in Wednesday’s WSJ says it all: Congress can’t kill the entitlement state. Only the American people can.” Some of us have been saying the same thing on this here web site for years.

That’s why when I read Henninger’s article the other day it had the ring of truth for me. So here it is in its entirety – a roadmap for the collapse of ObamaCare, and “the discrediting of the entitlement state.”

"Daniel Henninger: Let ObamaCare Collapse

Congress can't kill the entitlement state. Only the American people can.

September 25, 2013, 6:58 p.m. ET

What the GOP's Defund-ObamaCare Caucus is failing to see is that ObamaCare is no longer just ObamaCare. It is about something that is beyond the reach of a congressional vote.

As its Oct. 1 implementation date arrives, ObamaCare is the biggest bet that American liberalism has made in 80 years on its foundational beliefs. This thing called "ObamaCare" carries on its back all the justifications, hopes and dreams of the entitlement state. The chance is at hand to let its political underpinnings collapse, perhaps permanently.

If ObamaCare fails, or seriously falters, the entitlement state will suffer a historic loss of credibility with the American people. It will finally be vulnerable to challenge and fundamental change. But no mere congressional vote can achieve that. Only the American people can kill ObamaCare.

No matter what Sen. Ted Cruz and his allies do, ObamaCare won't die. It would return another day in some other incarnation. The Democrats would argue, rightly, that the ideas inside ObamaCare weren't defeated. What the Democrats would lose is a vote in Congress, nothing more.

A political idea, once it becomes a national program, achieves legitimacy with the public. Over time, that legitimacy deepens. So it has been with the idea of national social insurance.

German Chancellor Otto von Bismark's creation of a social insurance system in the 19th century spread through Europe. After the devastation of World War I, few questioned its need. In the U.S., Franklin Roosevelt's Social Security system was seen as an antidote to the Depression. The public's three-decade support for the idea allowed Lyndon Johnson to pass the Medicare and Medicaid entitlements even in the absence of an economic crisis.

Going back at least to the Breaux-Thomas Medicare Commission in 1999, endless learned bodies have warned that the U.S. entitlement scheme of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is financially unsupportable. Of Medicare, Rep. Bill Thomas said at the time, "One of the biggest problems is that the government tries to administer 10,000 prices in 3,000 counties, and it gets it wrong most of the time." But change never comes.

Medicaid is the worst medicine in the United States. It grinds on. Doctors in droves are withdrawing from Medicare. No matter. It all lives on.

An established political idea is like a vampire. Facts, opinions, votes, garlic: Nothing can make it die.

But there is one thing that can kill an established political idea. It will die if the public that embraced it abandons it.

Six months ago, that didn't seem likely. Now it does.

The public's dislike of ObamaCare isn't growing with every new poll for reasons of philosophical attachment to notions of liberty and choice. Fear of ObamaCare is growing because a cascade of news suggests that ObamaCare is an impending catastrophe.

Big labor unions and smaller franchise restaurant owners want out. UPS dropped coverage for employed spouses. Corporations such as Walgreens and IBM are transferring employees or retirees into private insurance exchanges. Because of ObamaCare, the Cleveland Clinic has announced early retirements for staff and possible layoffs. The federal government this week made public its estimate of premium costs for the federal health-care exchanges. It is a morass, revealing the law's underappreciated operational complexity.

But ObamaCare's Achilles' heel is technology. The software glitches are going to drive people insane.

Creating really large software for institutions is hard. Creating big software that can communicate across unrelated institutions is unimaginably hard. ObamaCare's software has to communicate—accurately—across a mind-boggling array of institutions: HHS, the IRS, Medicare, the state-run exchanges, and a whole galaxy of private insurers' and employers' software systems.

Recalling Rep. Thomas's 1999 remark about Medicare setting prices for 3,000 counties, there is already mispricing of ObamaCare's insurance policies inside the exchanges set up in the states.

The odds of ObamaCare's eventual self-collapse look stronger every day. After that happens, then what? Try truly universal health insurance? Not bloody likely if the aghast U.S. public has any say.

Enacted with zero Republican votes, ObamaCare is the solely owned creation of the Democrats' belief in their own limitless powers to fashion goodness out of legislated entitlements. Sometimes social experiments go wrong. In the end, the only one who supported Frankenstein was Dr. Frankenstein. The Democrats in 2014 should by all means be asked relentlessly to defend their monster.

Republicans and conservatives, instead of tilting at the defunding windmill, should be working now to present the American people with the policy ideas that will emerge inevitably when ObamaCare's declines. The system of private insurance exchanges being adopted by the likes of Walgreens suggests a parallel alternative to ObamaCare may be happening already.

If Republicans feel they must "do something" now, they could get behind Sen. David Vitter's measure to force Congress to enter the burning ObamaCare castle along with the rest of the American people. Come 2017, they can repeal the ruins.

The discrediting of the entitlement state begins next Tuesday. Let it happen.”


Yes – let it happen, indeed!

Latest Activity: Sep 27, 2013 at 11:55 AM

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timeontarget commented on Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 12:50 PM

Interesting and thank you for posting this.

Even I can see this train wreck approaching.

I suspect some of our more active liberal counterparts will either not read this entirely or simply blindly continue to blame republicans for the mess which has been created solely by the democratic party.

JimmyMack commented on Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 17:40 PM

Well: I read it. The whole thing. And Henninger surely paints a bleak picture of financial Armageddon. Hell it just might happen boys. I honestly really do not know. The whip-lash of failure is really what frightens me the most. Just like in Germany after their collapse financially and having the burden of paying for the Whole Cost of WWI placed on its shoulders, opened the doors to a charismatic Conservative Leader and we all know how that turned out.

In America we have the Tea Party and to my mind they are not that far philosophically removed from the NSDAP. Complete economic collapse will open the way for hard-right conservatism the likes of which we have yet to see in this Nation, cuz America sure won't be a hankering to give the Democrats control again, will they!

So No fellas, I'm kinda hopin that ACA works out the kinks and gets us thru the turbulence. Cause if it fails, it will reveal a right wing monster the likes of which the world has not seen since 1933-1945.

sebekm commented on Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 20:44 PM

What's the monster? If ObamaCare fails, they'll just pass something that isn't an albatross around the necks of the 85% - that's all. Health care reform is NEEDED - it just needs to be done COMPETENTLY.

PoliticsNation commented on Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 22:10 PM

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), a staunch opponent of the Affordable Care Act, is encouraging his uninsured constituents to take advantage of the law and sign-up for health care coverage when the new marketplaces open next Tuesday, putting himself at odds with lawmakers in his own party.

In an interview with the News Leader, Blunt criticized the law, but argued that it could serve as an option for those without coverage:

Blunt said the exchanges would be “nowhere near ready” to open on Tuesday. But he said uninsured Missourians still should figure out how to get coverage.

“The exchanges are there, people need insurance,” he said.

State Republican lawmakers in Missouri are actively trying to undermine reform and have explicitly refused to oversee Obamacare’s most basic and popular protections, such as barring insurers from denying coverage to Americans with pre-existing medical conditions and discriminating against women on the basis of gender. Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder has even actively discouraged Missourians from signing up for insurance.

Fourteen percent of Missourians are currently uninsured. According to premium averages released by the Department of Health and Human Services, “a 27-year-old Missourian earning $25,000 annually will pay roughly $87 a month for the lowest-cost plan after using the tax credits.”

sebekm commented on Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 23:20 PM

Blunt is obviously out of touch with "mainstream" Republicans. We all know who THEY are - they're the ones who want to starve old people and take away their Social Security checks.

JimmyMack commented on Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 14:00 PM

@ Sebe: I do not see anywhere in PN's blog anything remotely resembling "Republicans are the ones who want to starve old people and take away their Social Security Checks." (even if framed as a joke)

If anything, I think PN is revealing the fractious nature of a heretofore solid Republican denouncement of ACA. Republican's are becoming aware that ACA may in fact help many of their constituency back home.

I believe many of those Gerry-mandered Conservatives, much to the disconcerting nature of their stance towards ACA, will find that their elected conservative representative, will be forced to buck the National Republican Repealists, and to keep their jobs will decide to support (imagine that) the needs of their district voters.

sebekm commented on Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 14:53 PM

"@ Sebe: I do not see anywhere in PN's blog anything remotely resembling "Republicans are the ones who want to starve old people and take away their Social Security Checks." (even if framed as a joke)"

No, Jimmy - I said that. It's the stereotype that has been around forever and one that is constantly reinforced by the leftstream media. Blunt is "bluntly" out of step with that stereotype - no?

Funkentelecky commented on Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 21:03 PM

Obama 50+1 vote; Healthcare

This is only true if the POTUS is a Republican!

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