By Richard E. Ralston
Politicians and journalists are obsessed with the failed rollout and continuing complications of the government-run Web site healthcare.gov, which Americans must use, under penalty of law, to enrol in the brave new world of Obamacare.
But the issue worthy of fear and persistent attention is not what will happen if the Web site does not work, but what will happen when it does. The real nightmare will be the full implementation of the health care law.
The functionality of the healthcare.gov site will improve after a few more hundreds of millions of dollars are poured into it. And more and more individuals will see for themselves that they must pay for expanded coverage they do not want or need. Young people will encounter the fact that they must pay higher insurance premiums. Males will discover that they must pay more, because females must not pay a higher premium, even if their actual medical expenses are higher.
Redistribution from the younger to the older, and from men to women, are excellent ways for politicians to exercise their control over every detail of our lives.
More ominously, politicians will be able to demonstrate their power to drive employers to drop the insurance they make available to their employees. Or force employees into part-time work when employers must reduce hours to compensate for higher insurance costs. Or toss doctors from Medicare Advantage as a result of long-anticipated Medicare cuts to pay for Obamacare.
At least, the uproar over the Web site casts light on the underlying inconsistencies of the Obama party line on Obamacare. It tears away the entire false narrative used to originally sell it to Americans.
The most outrageous lie, endlessly repeated for four years, was President Obama’s promise that "if you like your insurance, you will be able to keep it, period." This was stated frequently by the president as an absolute -- without qualification -- before and after the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the law.
Engaging in cascading revisionism, now the president adds what he repeatedly neglected to mention before: "Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really like that plan, what we said was you could keep it, if it hasn’t changed since the law was passed."
The president’s new rhetoric neglects to mention that most of those "grandfathered" plans will change, as insurers reorganize to bring their plans in compliance with the current law.
No matter, President Obama has judged for you: "If you lose your insurance, you will get something better."
The fact is, the president lied, period.
It is no wonder that President Obama did not care to take measures to ensure that the technical implementation of healthcare.gov was being handled properly. The president has always been blissfully unconcerned with such details.
Efficacy has obviously not been a priority or even a consideration in the government’s health-care sign-up process -- nor will it be in the government's administering of health care.
Who cares if the government can’t manage health care any better than it can manage anything else? The acquisition of political power to sustain a spoils system has long since become an end in itself.
What else should we expect? For fifty years the cost of health care has risen in direct proportion to the share financed by government. More than forty years after we were first blessed with a U.S. Department of Education and the ever- growing domination of local schools, has student performance improved? Or the opposite?
We can easily dispense with any concern about whether the Obamacare Web site will work -- rest easy, fear not. It will become an evermore effective educational tool for each citizen who uses it. Unfortunately, that education will be about government, not about health care.
Richard E. Ralston is the executive director of Americans for Free Choice in Medicine, Newport Beach, California. Copyright © 2013 Americans for Free Choice in Medicine. All rights reserved.