Among the many reasons to resist the government takeover of health care, or any other industry, is that the public promptly loses its ability to analyze or criticize the problems that remain. The government will lie relentlessly to cover up its failures, power-worshiping media will help bureaucrats get away with it, and the people can’t really do anything about systemic problems anyway.
Transparency and competition are among the first casualties when coercive force is introduced into any system. Collectivism never comes remotely close to keeping its promises. It gains the power to silence complaints, and calls that “success.”
ObamaCare provides a sterling example.
It’s a pity America needed another lesson in collectivist failure, but boy, did we ever get one. When a submissive population complies with coercive enrollment policies, the collectivists call it “success,” even though enrollment still lags behind projections – as if following orders you will be sternly punished for disobeying is the equivalent of “popularity.” You can’t escape from ObamaCare, and you’ll be fined into penury if you try. Now, will you obey, comrade, or must we hurt you? You’ll obey? Splendid! You “support” ObamaCare!
The millions who lost insurance plans they liked, or who complain about high costs and lousy benefits under ObamaCare, are summarily ignored by the regime and its media. We were saddled with this lousy system because megaphones were turned on for everyone who disliked the old health-care system; it was portrayed as an unbearable crisis, even though the vast majority of people were happy with it. The exact opposite approach is taken with ObamaCare – not many people are truly pleased with it, and frankly they’re not the ones bearing the insane cost of the system, but they’re the only people you’ll ever hear about.
When the topic of discussion was the government takeover of health insurance, all legal concerns were glibly brushed aside. Who cares what the Constitution says? Heck, who cares what the Affordable Care Act says? The whole system is written on the fly, by edict and decree… as the commissars keep a weather eye on the polls, just in case their media friends are unsuccessful at making unhappy Americans feel marginalized and helpless. Five years on, we’re told that a comparable crusade of Hope and Change to rid ourselves of the ObamaCare disaster is pointless and futile – a half-written bill passed in the dead of night, during a brief window of unchecked Democrat power, is supposedly more fixed and immutable than the Constitution itself.
Sharyl Attkisson has a devastating expose of Covered California – which she notes, for good and ill, is the “model” ObamaCare exchange – at the Daily Signal. (It’s a two-part article, with the second part available here.) It’s filled with the sort of details that would outrage us to the point of demanding investigations, formal charges, and probably government regulatory “fixes,” if the subject of the article was a private-sector company.
As you might have noticed, there are no investigations or charges when neo-fascist State/industrial systems screw up, and there’s no more powerful authority to plead with for regulatory fixes. Billions of dollars are squandered, without hope of recovery, unhappy “customers” are told to shut up, and the media refuses to build a narrative of systemic failure. Attkisson was one of the few mainstream reporters who wrote against the interests of the Obama Administration, which is why she’s now “former CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson,” and occasionally gets to enjoy watching her computer switch itself on in the middle of the night.
One of her sources for the Covered California story is profoundly disappointed project manager Aiden Hill, who became an ObamaCare supporter because he had a pre-existing condition that prevented him from getting an insurance policy under the old system. He went to work for Covered California as a true believer… and was abruptly dismissed after half a year of witnessing waste, incompetence, and cover-ups turned him into a whistleblower. “I really believe that we’ve created a monster – and it’s an unaccountable monster,” he declared.
Other sources within Covered California backed up Hill’s critique, speaking of impossible project goals pushed for political reasons, a glitchy website brought live despite “disastrous” pre-launch testing, repair costs the government refuses to discuss in detail, inflated enrollment figures touted by a government that knew they were wrong, confused customers buried under mountains of paperwork, the mainstream media swallowing ObamaCare propaganda without question, no-bid contractors paid huge sums of money for work they didn’t deliver, and soaring prices for insurance coverage. (Hill himself, initially so happy to find coverage through ObamaCare, said he was facing a 71 percent increase; 84 percent of California customers will be facing rate hikes this year.)
All of this was covered under a blanket of secrecy that would have put sweat-soaked private-sector CEOs into hot seats before angry congressional committees… but accountability simply doesn’t happen any more, when Big Government takes over. Attkisson’s sources accuse Covered California, and the federal ObamaCare apparatus, of obscuring or actively misrepresenting virtually every detail. Hill was told not to use computer resources in a way that could build an incriminating paper trail. Attkisson says every question she asked of Covered California for her article was ignored.
As for whether ObamaCare is meeting its goals in California, the truth can no longer be concealed. An official told Attkisson that enrollment growth has pretty much flatlined – they were hoping for 500,000 new enrollments in 2015, but they’ve gotten only 7,098 so far, while losing a whopping 35 percent of their customers from 2014.
The media and political blackout on unhappy ObamaCare customers is a marvel to behold, but it’s entirely predictable. The last vestiges of free-market medicine were put on the chopping block with a selective emphasis on anecdote – certainly there were people unhappy with the pre-ObamaCare system, people who couldn’t get insurance coverage for a variety of reasons. Their numbers were vastly over-estimated, as individual stories were refashioned into systemic critiques. Instead of wisely-planned specific reforms to address the relatively small number of “hard-core” uninsured, America was stampeded into a multi-trillion-dollar bureaucratic nightmare that functions less well than our pre-2010 insurance system overall… but as long as President Obama and his media pals can spotlight a few “winners” here and there, conceal the biggest problems with the system, avoid discussing the vast sums of money wasted, and stifle Americans’ complaints about high premiums and poor service, they can keep ObamaCare alive.
When you get right down to it, that’s the core problem with falling prey to collectivism. Under a free-market system, you can complain, initiate legal action, and above all use the awesome power of “no” to walk away from vendors who displease or deceive you. Once the State takes over, there is no way to say “no.” Your only hope is to build a political movement powerful enough to overthrow the collectivist regime, which will always have a defensive line of dependents and supportive moneyed interests, not to mention a media doggedly determined to avoid writing about the failures of a State they have partnered with in both romantic and symbiotic relationships. Big Media believes in Big Government, they’re in love with its ideology of Big Solutions to Big Problems, and they do not want to write stories that might result in an outbreak of Big Freedom.