Obamacare was always intended to be the Great Disruptor: Avik Roy reports that, by 2010, administration officials knew that 93 million Americans would lose their current plans under Obamacare. Small businesses are cutting back on full-time workers; medium businesses are dumping employees’ spouses and children from their plans; and the largest businesses are eating nine-figure bottom-line increases. Delta Airlines claims that it will spend an extra $100 million on health-care expenses next year: Even with cutbacks on complimentary mini-pretzels, a tenth of a billion is a big sum to recover. Meanwhile, the Obamacare plans won’t recognize your preferred doctor, and major hospitals won’t recognize the Obamacare plans.
My old comrade David Frum was somewhat insouciant about the extra $2,400 a year he’ll have to find for his new Obama-approved health arrangements. These days, comparatively few Americans are that liquid, and for most an extra $200 a month will have to be clawed away from real things of value. “Not only will I pay more,” grumbled Mr. Frum, “but I have had to divert many otherwise useful hours to futzing around with websites and paperwork.”
But that’s life in the Republic of Paperwork, isn’t it? The remorseless diversion of time and energy to “futzing around.” That’s why so much of American life seems to be seizing up, why so many routine features of human existence require time-consuming bureaucracy-heavy painstaking navigation (to borrow a term from Obamacare’s “customer-service representatives”). America would benefit from an opposition party that offered a serious de-futzing of the nation: a platform on the scale of Mrs. Thatcher’s privatization program in 1979 or Sir Roger Douglas’s in New Zealand in the Eighties that offered to make ordinary life comprehensible to non-wonks once more. Instead, the Obama crowd have bet that, after the usual whining, you’ll settle down and get used to it: higher co-pays, higher premiums, higher deductibles, higher mountain of paperwork, higher futzing. But the fact remains that nowhere in the Western world has the governmentalization of health care been so incompetently introduced and required protection by such a phalanx of lies. Obamacare is not a left–right issue; it’s a fraud issue.