John Hammond: All major theme parks have delays. When they opened Disneyland in 1956, nothing worked!
Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, but, John, if The Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don’t eat the tourists.
That memorable exchange from Jurassic Park came to mind constantly when major break-downs in the Healthcare.gov website were being called glitches by government toadies and the news media (but I repeat myself), and it came to mind again when the President was taking his absurd victory lap in April after the enrollment figures came out, as if the public’s ability to finally make the damn website work was the final definition of success.
Like the pathetic Hammond, the visionary who built his dinosaur theme park only to see it fall victim to Chaos Theory and hubris, Obamacare’s army of deceitful supporters and cheerleaders resolutely refuse to admit what should be apparent. The project was too ambitious, badly designed, sloppily executed, and dependent on too many untrustworthy contractors—like Dennis Nedry, who was just Newman in disguise. The evidence has been obvious, but as has now become standard operating procedure for this epically incompetent, amateurish, dishonest and unaccountable administration, the strategy has been to deny, delay, confuse, posture and accuse, while hoping some miracle or collective amnesia prevents the day of reckoning.
Yesterday we learned the raptors are out of their enclosure. On top of the revelation that the enrollment numbers do not ensure the stability of the program as various disgraceful choruses from the media claimed in March, we were told this (from the Washington Post):
The government may be paying incorrect subsidies to more than 1 million Americans for their health plans in the new federal insurance marketplace and has been unable so far to fix the errors, according to internal documents and three people familiar with the situation.
The problem means that potentially hundreds of thousands of people are receiving bigger subsidies than they deserve. They are part of a large group of Americans who listed incomes on their insurance applications that differ significantly — either too low or too high — from those on file with the Internal Revenue Service, documents show. The government has identified these discrepancies but is stuck at the moment. Under federal rules, consumers are notified if there is a problem with their application and asked to upload or mail in pay stubs or other proof of their income. Only a fraction have done so, according to the documents. And, even when they have, the federal computer system at the heart of the insurance marketplace cannot match this proof with the application because that capability has yet to be built…
Wait—didn’t President Obama say that the website was fixed now? That doesn’t sound like “fixed” to me. In fact, this sounds like one of many problems being carefully parceled out to the public, with much more to come.
You know what the defense will be by now: we’ve heard it so often, it should be committed to memory. “The important thing is that people without health insurance are getting insured.” The fact that so many people lost the plans they wanted to keep? Doesn’t matter. The fact that premiums are rising? Never mind. That the employer mandate may cost jobs? That to make the ACA barely workable, the President has contravened constitutional process, creating a precedent that undermines the legislative process? That the law will reduce the workforce, will probably add to the debt, require large tax increases, and cause other havoc that we can’t even imagine? To the arrogant and juvenile policy tyros in charge, as long as the central objective is arguably successful, the costs and negative consequences don’t matter.
The uncharitable description for this kind of reasoning is “reckless and idiotic.” The neutral description would be “irresponsible.” The most charitable description? Infantile, perhaps. Measuring the success and wisdom of any trade-off by examining only one side of the equation is ridiculous. But that’s the Affordable Care Act.
There is no rational reason for anyone to trust that the Affordable Care Act can be repaired, or, even if it could be repaired, not be mismanaged into a disaster anyway. It is too complex, and as Ian Malcolm tried to tell Hammond from the beginning about his dinosaur playground, overly complex systems are unmanageable.
But a lemonade stand would be unmanageable by the team of inept loyalists Obama has surrounded himself with. With Clinton there was scandal fatigue; in the Obama Administration there is mismanagement fatigue. Dana Milbank, reliable Post apologist for Democrats that he is, mocked the infuriating responses of Veteran’s Administration Secretary Shinseki before Congress., who did a full Sergent Schultz: he knew nothing! Nothing! He was apparently a passive observer of all that was going wrong in his agency, as veterans were dying, and cover-ups were flourishing. His attitude, however, differs little from what we have seen from other administration stars in the past six years: Eric Holder’s shrugs regarding Fast and Furious; the official responses to the evidence of political sabotage by the IRS; former Secretary Clinton’s denial of responsibility for Benghazi; Secretary Sibelius’s lack of command over what went wrong with Oamacare’s launch, and of course, leading them all, President Obama’s shock and amazement at the myriad screw-ups under him, from the NSA’s bungling and over-reach, to the military’s breakdown in discipline, to drunken Secret Service agents, to Homeland Security corruption…and I won’t even go mention the succession of international fiascos.
The best patriotic and optimistic citizens can hope for is that the Affordable Care Act will be the worst disaster this well-meaning, criminally inept gang inflicts on us. I see little chance of that being the case, however. “Jurassic Park” has had two sequels, and a third is on the way.
I think the worst is yet to come.