Executive Summary: The Obama administration isn’t living up to even reasonable liberal expectations.
I’m not going to be arch; I figure that I’ll just say my piece, then move on. The basic problem with publicly-funded health care programs is that the public has three expectations for it:
- That it be comprehensive. Give as many people access to it as possible.
- That it be effective. The health care provided must be worth the costs.
- That it be cheap. People don’t want to be beggared by health care costs.
This is, of course, impossible. The market will tell you Pick any two, which is the standard response when given three criteria in a finite-resources situation. At that, it’s better than government, which generally operates under the principle of Pick any one. This is not necessarily government’s fault; there are certain things that governments do well (usually involving standardized weights, measures, coinage, and rules*). Providing health care services to everybody as well as private industry could is almost certainly not one of them.
Of course, Barack Obama and the rest of the Democratic party promised that they’d deliver on all three fronts. I certainly hope that liberals didn’t believe them for a second, and simply assumed that they’d get one-and-a-decent-fraction out of three. That would have been standard politics, after all. Alas for them, the great question for the next year or so is going to be Can Barack Obama fulfill any of the public’s expectations of his signature health care policy at all? …Because from where I’m sitting it looks entirely likely that Obamacare will simply blow up on the launch pad.
Something to keep in mind when calculating our electoral chances. Just because the public won’t take out their frustrations on Barack Obama generally does not mean that they won’t enjoy taking them out on his party.
*Try living without any of those for a while and see how much you enjoy the experience. Weights and measures particularly.