ObamaCare: The Devil Is Not in the Details

Here are some examples.

Public education. Our public education system is highly politicized. It’s very costly and yet produces remarkably poor results, with many students never graduating from high school; of those who do graduate, many have dismal basic skills in reading, writing, and math.

Housing market. Our housing market used to be free of politics, but within the last several decades politicians have intervened repeatedly to push their idea that home ownership is necessarily good and to undermine longstanding lending standards to accomplish that. The resulting housing bubble did enormous economic damage to the nation, thanks to political intrusion.

The Post Office. Since 1845, the Post Office has enjoyed a monopoly in delivering first-class mail, courtesy of politicians who didn’t like it losing money when it had competition. Prices keep rising rapidly and still the taxpayers have to make up huge annual deficits. Service can be slow and unreliable.

Communist nations. We can also see the effects of politicization by looking at whole nations. Under communism, which left little outside the realm of political control, most people experienced miserable goods and services across the board. Government officials constantly proclaimed that they worked only for the public good, not profit, but the results were so bad that people risked their lives to escape.

Now let’s look at some examples where politics plays little or no role.

Grocery shopping. Stores decide what items to offer and consumers buy what they want. The profit-and-loss system leads to variety, innovation, high-quality merchandise, and good service.

Personal education. When people want to learn about anything from home repairs to the history of the Byzantine Empire, they have available a wide array of books, recorded lecture sets, the internet, private tutors (e.g., music lessons, perhaps the freest market we still have), and more. Prices are low and consumer satisfaction is high.

I could go on and on, but I think the point is clear: the more anything is politicized, the less well it serves people. That’s why I dread ObamaCare. It will make something very important much more politicized. Whatever the details, it’s a move in the wrong direction.

Don’t misunderstand. I have no doubt that there are many devils lurking in the heavy stacks of paper that comprise the legislation. If people choose to dig into the pages and expose them, good.

But instead of trying to decide whether you’re for or against this on the basis of what some bill may or may not say on page 852, the easier way is just to ask if you believe that a highly politicized health care system will work better than other highly politicized systems we know about. I can see no reason to think it will.