From National Review Kevin Williamson writes McHealthcare Deluxe- The Affordable Care Act is a failed political product.
But whatever else you can say about the politics of health insurance, it remains the fact that the ACA does not work. Even if it were the case that Republicans are mean, wicked, greedy, and ignorant, the ACA does not work. Sure, President Trump is a buffoon and the Republican congressional leadership has been strikingly unpersuasive — but the ACA does not work. Mitch McConnell could be in the employ of Beelzebub himself and the ACA still does not work. In a house or with a mouse, on a train or in the rain, the ACA does not work. It does not do what its authors promised it would do. And it has failed mostly for the reasons that conservative critics pointed to at the time.
The Affordable Care Act is the New Coke of Democratic domestic-policy initiatives, the McAfrika sandwich (“based on an authentic African recipe”), the Clairol Touch of Yogurt Shampoo. You know what all those products have in common? They’re gone. But the Coca-Cola Company, McDonald’s, and Procter & Gamble still exist. They’re doing okay. They understood their failures, fixed them, and moved on to better and more profitable things. Eventually, we’re going to have to do the same thing when it comes to health insurance, and the sooner the Democrats get on board the less it is going to hurt.
The health care debates is so contentious because it focuses the differences in political and economic philosophies into a single issue. Does this require a central government solution or is it better served by solving it locally in the 50 laboratories we call states?
One of the greatest advantages of market solutions is not that it always picks better solutions, but that it recognizes failures quicker and better. The opposite happens in government. Self serving bureaucracies institutionalize failures. Instead of admitting failure and redeploying assets into better and different solutions we institutionalize failures and increase their funding.
Trying to agree on component solutions is so arduous that we think that systemic solutions is the preferred path. But these solutions are so plagued with compromise that it has become impossible to make them effective. One side wants to build a bridge, the other side does not. We compromise by building half a bridge, spending 90% of the money and failing to provide the perceived need to cross the river.
The unwillingness to admit failure and implement corrective action is a big reason to be skeptical of expensive central solutions.