"Weekly Examples of this Administration’s Inability to Govern"
Not a Good Sign When Lefty Journalists Trash You Like This Obamacare Incompetence
By Joe Klein, Time Magazine April 2, 2013
Let me try to understand this: The key incentive for small businesses to
support Obamacare was that they would be able to shop for the best deals in
health care super-stores—called exchanges. The Administration has had 3 years to
set up these exchanges. It has failed
to do so.
This is a really bad sign. There will be those who argue that it’s not the
Administration’s fault. It’s the fault of the 33 states that have refused to set
up their own exchanges. Nonsense. Where was the contingency planning? There
certainly are models, after all—the federal government’s own health benefits
plan (FEHBP) operates markets that exist in all 50 states. So does Medicare
Advantage. But now, the Obama Administration has announced that it won’t have
the exchanges ready in time, that small businesses will be offered one
choice for the time being—for a year, at least. No doubt, small business owners
will be skeptical of the Obama Administration’s belief in the efficacy of the
market system to produce lower prices through competition. That was supposed to
be the point of this plan.
Certainly, the Republicans who have stood in the way of these exchanges—their
own idea, by the way, born in the conservative Heritage Foundation—deserve a
great deal of the “credit” for the debacle. But we are now seeing weekly
examples of this Administration’s inability to govern. Just a few weeks ago, I
reported on the failure of the Department of Defense and the
Veterans Administration to come up with a unified electronic health care records
system. There has also been the studied inattention to the myriad of ineffective
job training programs scattered through the bureaucracy. There have been the
oblique and belated efforts to reform Head Start, a $7 billion program that a
study conducted by its own bureaucracy—the Department of Health and Human
Services—has found nearly worthless. The list is endless.
Yes, the President has faced a terrible economic crisis—and he has done well
to limit the damage. He has also succeeded in avoiding disasters overseas. But,
as a Democrat—as someone who believes in activist government—he has a vested
interest in seeing that federal programs actually work efficiently. I don’t see
much evidence that this is anywhere near the top of his priorities.
One thing is clear: Obamacare will fail if he doesn’t start paying more
attention to the details of implementation, if he doesn’t start demanding
action. And, in a larger sense, the notion of activist government will be in
peril—despite the demographics flowing the Democrats’ way—if institutions like
the VA and Obamacare don’t deliver the goods. Sooner or later, the Republican
party may come to understand that its best argument isn’t about tearing down the
government we have, but making it run more efficiently.
Sooner or later, the Democrats may come to understand that making it run
efficiently is the prerequisite for maintaining power.