September 27, 2013
DANIEL HENNINGER: Let ObamaCare Collapse.
As its Oct. 1 implementation date arrives, ObamaCare is the biggest bet that American liberalism has made in 80 years on its foundational beliefs. This thing called “ObamaCare” carries on its back all the justifications, hopes and dreams of the entitlement state. The chance is at hand to let its political underpinnings collapse, perhaps permanently.
If ObamaCare fails, or seriously falters, the entitlement state will suffer a historic loss of credibility with the American people. It will finally be vulnerable to challenge and fundamental change. But no mere congressional vote can achieve that. Only the American people can kill ObamaCare.
No matter what Sen. Ted Cruz and his allies do, ObamaCare won’t die. It would return another day in some other incarnation. The Democrats would argue, rightly, that the ideas inside ObamaCare weren’t defeated. What the Democrats would lose is a vote in Congress, nothing more. . . .
An established political idea is like a vampire. Facts, opinions, votes, garlic: Nothing can make it die.
But there is one thing that can kill an established political idea. It will die if the public that embraced it abandons it.
Six months ago, that didn’t seem likely. Now it does.
The public’s dislike of ObamaCare isn’t growing with every new poll for reasons of philosophical attachment to notions of liberty and choice. Fear of ObamaCare is growing because a cascade of news suggests that ObamaCare is an impending catastrophe.
Big labor unions and smaller franchise restaurant owners want out. UPS dropped coverage for employed spouses. Corporations such as Walgreens and IBM IBM +0.40% are transferring employees or retirees into private insurance exchanges. Because of ObamaCare, the Cleveland Clinic has announced early retirements for staff and possible layoffs. The federal government this week made public its estimate of premium costs for the federal health-care exchanges. It is a morass, revealing the law’s underappreciated operational complexity.
But ObamaCare’s Achilles’ heel is technology. The software glitches are going to drive people insane.
The public never embraced ObamaCare. It was always unpopular.
UPDATE: A reader emails:
I was at an event at the White House recently and found myself seated next to a prominent surgeon. We chatted through the meal and then I had to ask: “What do you think about Obamacare?” He looked around briefly and leaned in close. “I really shouldn’t say this here,” he said. “But I think they’ve already destroyed health care in this country.” And then he listed a host of ways he believes the law will make medical practice less efficient, less effective, and, something he says is too easily overlooked, less confidential. He was particularly upset that physicians will be required to record–and pass along to health officials–intimate details about patients’ sexual preferences and habits.
How’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for ya?