Yeah, we’re starting early this morning, but you have to when Megan McArdle has pronounced the thing “beyond rescue” and wins on that point in a debate (her first) held on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. That’s like me debating Carrie Nation in a temperance hall on the merits of of having a third Old Fashioned before dinner — and winning. But enough of that. Here’s Megan:
The administration and its supporters have been counting on the coverage expansion to put Obamacare beyond repeal. So what if the coverage expansion is anemic, the plans bare-bones, the website sort of a disaster? It’s a foundation upon which we can build — and now that so many people have coverage, the thinking goes, Republicans will never dare to touch it. The inevitable problems can be fixed down the road.
But it’s far from clear that this is true. The law is unpopular, not only with voters, but also apparently with the consumers who are supposed to buy insurance. The political forces that were supposed to guarantee its survival look weaker by the day. The Barack Obama administration is in emergency mode, pasting over political problems with administrative fixes of dubious legality, just to ensure the law’s bare survival — which is now their incredibly low bar for “success.”
Although the fixes may solve the short-term political problems, however, they destabilize the markets, which also need to work to ensure the law’s survival. The president is destroying his own law in order to save it.
Wiggleroom isn’t just destroying his own law. He’s destroying respect for the law in general, and the insurance plans (and financial stability) of millions of American families.
Not bad for a little-read bill passed with virtually no debate.