October 28 2013
An Administration in Wonderland
This weekend’s Saturday Night Live skit on the debut of ObamaCare’s enrollment website is absolutely hilarious. Don’t miss it.
An ebullient “Kathleen Sebelius” talks about how great the rollout has been: “We’re already up to three likes and I like that enthusiasm!”
The defenses of the rollout from the administration and sympathetic pundits, however, have been almost as detached from reality as the SNL skit. President Obama, for instance, has dismissed the massive failure of the rollout as “glitches.” Rivaling the Kathleen Sebelius of SNL, the president said:
"Now, like every new law, every new product rollout, there are going to be some glitches in the sign-up process along the way that we will fix," Obama said. "We're going to be speeding things up in the next few hours to handle all of this demand that exceeds anything that we had expected. Consider that just a couple of weeks ago, Apple (AAPL) rolled out a new mobile operating system, and within days, they found a glitch, so they fixed it.”
But Apple fixed its glitches (which were really glitches, as opposed to a massive malfunction of an entire system). Apple's stock has been climbing lately. ObamaCare? Not so much. Does the president really believe this the failure of Healthcare.gov is really the same as just some wrinkles? Or is he just stalling for time? Either way, it’s no way to run a country.
The president most famously said, when trying to sell ObamaCare to the public, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” Or the variation: “If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it.” This, as it turns out, is not true.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans have received notices that their health insurance plans are being cancelled. Other hapless citizens are seeing the cost of their premiums skyrocket and facing new deductibles that are so exorbitant that possession of an insurance policy is almost irrelevant unless you have a major illness.
Going forward, it would be instructive to know why the president made these claims. Was he unaware of how his signature health care law would operate? Or was he telling a bald-faced lie? Or was he just a-talking, without really thinking or caring about what he was saying? These are important questions as the nation tries to come to grips with what ObamaCare hath wrought.
It may be that the president, like Lewis Carroll's Humpty Dumpty, believes that words mean what he intends them to mean:
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
Red lines, keeping your health insurance policy? The real meaning of the president's words are connected to a sort of Lewis Carroll Wonderland, where the president's utterances have meaning beyond anything verifiable in reality.
TV pundits sympathetic to the president simply refuse to address the matter of the president's veriably false claim that people could keep their doctors or policies. They dismiss the question and go on to speaking almost giddily about how lucky those who’ve had their policies snatched once they enroll in ObamaCare (assuming they can get on the website).
Fox’s liberal talking head Juan Williams' performance Sunday on Fox News was quite similar to the enthusiastic Kathleen Sebelius of SNL. Williams adamantly refused to answer anything related to the president's false promises. Did the president mislead, misspeak, or lie? Williams skipped right over that and talked about how those whose insurance policies are being terminated will be so much happier in the brave new world of ObamaCare. They will have better policies!
Fox’s Brit Hume asked “better” by whose standards—their standards or the government’s? Their new ObamaCare policies will be government-approved and so they will cover, for a cost, services that might not have been on the cancelled policies. Couples in their sixties, for example, will have no choice but to buy insurance policies that cover maternity services.
Having many people pay for services they don't need is the only way ObamaCare can stay afloat--and it might not stay afloat even then.
In a way, I am surprised that so many people are surpried. Central planners can plan but ultimately somebody has to pay up.
So I'd really like to know if the president is devious or really didn't understand this.
It is also frightening to see administration figures and pundits acting like they are playing Kathleen Sebelius on SNL.