Oh, Stop, Matthew Yglesias. And COUNTLESS Pundits Like you.
That’s an enormous lowering of expectations, and a reminder to liberals about the formidable barriers to further expansion of the welfare state. The public has long been skeptical of the political system’s practical ability to do the things progressives say they want to do. A health care website that comes in months late, over budget, and still lacking full functionality confirms all those fears when it was initially meant to debunk them. And that’s true whether or not it in some sense “works.”
— Matthew Yglesias, Healthcare.gov Has Already Failed: Website problems won’t stop Obamacare, but they’ve already wrecked progressives’ ambitions. Slate, today
Yglesias was discussing the Obama administration’s statement yesterday that healthcare.gov is now working reasonable well in its capacity to handle log-ons. The update, Yglesias said, tacitly acknowledged that “‘t]he government, according to the people who run the government, shouldn’t be expected to do things well.”
That’s right, Matt. What liberals have always wanted was a healthcare insurance website that works the way Amazon’s does. They never really much cared whether healthcare insurance, and healthcare itself, was available to people who have a preexisting medical condition and don’t have an employer that provides group insurance, or who just plain can’t afford huge premiums. They just used that as a pretext to get the Amazon-like website, or to try to.
The government shouldn’t be expected to do things well. If, by “things,” you mean websites.
Just wondering whether I’m the only one who is really, really tired of the punditry’s asinine conflation of means and ends–or, more specifically, of a website’s operations and access to medical insurance and medical care. I doubt that I am. I think it’s just that big-name pundits tend to conflate form and substance, because, well, that’s what big-name pundits do.
What a dumb blog post. Yglesias’s, on Slate; not mine, here.
Matt was never the sharpest blade in the drawer of utensils; however, it sells and this is the least newsworthy item in the media today as it is mostly supposition, conjecture, and opinion.
Let me add another adjective: ridiculous. A big chuckle at your “never the sharpest blade in the drawer of utensils” comment.
“…and a reminder to liberals about the formidable barriers to further expansion of the welfare state.”.
Further expansion suggests that we have a welfare state at present. I was trying hard to identify just which state, or state of affairs, is it that Yglesias is describing? It’s as absurd as Republicans suggesting that Obama is a socialist. Please, someone enumerate for me the socialist aspects of our political or economic system. That our country might try in some Rube Goldberg like manner to assure working people at the low end of the economic scale a means by which to obtain health insurance isn’t socialism or welfare so long as it relies upon a private, for profit industry to provide that insurance. Providing a government subsidy to those who can least afford that insurance is welfare to the insurers that are paid the premiums that such subsidies help to pay for. Is that the expansion that Matt has in mind?
Go to this TPM link: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/obamacare-mccarthyism for a great picture of the McCarthy Twins.
The problem has not been solved well, but not because of the limits of the welfare state, but because our government is stocked with lawyers and talking heads (which Yglesias would be).
First, having people go through private insurance was a gift to the insurance industry. A single-payer, across-state option would have been much simpler to implement.
Healthcare.gov is complicated because of the issue of subsidies. If you don’t need subsidies, just go to an insurance broker and they’ll get you a policy quickly. Now, what organization is best suited to handle your adjusted-gross-income level and rebates – the IRS! You could have defaulted to everyone gets a subsidy, and then give tax refunds to the people that did not use it. Easy, and you don’t address it until April.
There are two distinct issues: the nuts and bolts of the website, and the architecting of the program/direction of problem solving. The first has gotten all the attention, but the second is the core issue.
Iglesias’ column is beyond silly. Mainly because he has joined the countless pundits who somehow cannot keep their eye on the ball.
Success of the ACA will not be measured in web site speed or ease of use, it will be measured by the number of people who fain access to decent, affordable healthcare and how many people it keeps from financial disaster due to a medical disaster.
We already now how the private insurance market has performed in that area, so we will be able to measure the difference in performance between that private market system and the minimal government intrusion system that is the ACA.
Maybe Matt’s readership was down and he needed a shot in the arm of blog outrage to attract new attendees.
Don’t think Yglesias is stupid. He’s really, really, not. But he seems to have subscribed to some journalistic convention which forbids mentioning the extent to which the website’s problems arise from Republican obstructionsim. This is even more true of problems in the underlying program.
Perhaps the convention is simply “don’t offend these people if you want to keep your job.” I don’t know.
The things that this particular liberal wants to most do, such as reforming the tax code, certainly don’t have problems with bureaucracy.
Slate seems not to have reader comments. How interesting.
A “gift to the insurance industry”? Not hardly. It was bought and paid for.
Slate does have reader comments. It’s just that you have to know that, to comment or read other readers’ comments, you have to click the little round maroon-with-a-white-something-in-it icon to the right of the twitter icon.