October 11, 2013

JAMES TARANTO: What Fresh Hell Is This? ObamaCare’s technical troubles call the mandate into question.

You know the ObamaCare debut isn’t going well when a pair of supporters, Nick Wing and Jeffrey Young of the Puffington Host, pen an article with the headline “9 Valid Concerns We Can All Have About Obamacare, Without Thinking It Will Literally Bring Hell on Earth.” Talk about damning with faint praise!

Wing and Young have set up quite a straw man, taking ObamaCare opponents’ most exaggerated fears and exaggerating them even further.

They set up a straw man on the other side of the debate as well. The article opens with the “concession” that “the Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect. . . . Like most laws, Obamacare never will be perfect.” (That “most” is a nice touch. One wonders if they have an example in mind of a law that is perfect.) But we don’t recall anyone promising that ObamaCare would be perfect. What Obama and his backers promised was that it would be very, very good–that it would provide “universal” (or nearly so) coverage while reducing costs and maintaining or improving the quality of medical care.

Now, however, Wing and Young dramatically scale back that promise, describing ObamaCare as an “ambitious reform effort meant to make a dent in the nearly 50 million Americans who currently lack health insurance.” Again, that’s a contradiction in terms: It was in fact “ambitious,” but it would not have been so if it meant only to “make a dent.”

This is all by way of setting a very low standard for evaluating ObamaCare, one that will ensure it will be judged a “success” as long as it doesn’t destroy America. But the meat of the article is actually an indictment of ObamaCare, at least if one applies a reasonable standard of asking whether on balance it is a good piece of legislation.

Yeah, by that standard it’s a miserable failure.