Peggy Noonan: Obamacare a 'Huge, Historic Mess'

Image: Peggy Noonan: Obamacare a 'Huge, Historic Mess'

Friday, 04 Apr 2014 01:43 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Obamacare has been nothing but a "huge, historic mess" that is unique in the annals of lawmaking and administration, says The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan.

"The leaders of our government have not felt, throughout the process, that they had any responsibility to be honest and forthcoming about the major aspects of the program, from its exact nature to its exact cost," writes Noonan.

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"We are not being told the cost of anything—all those ads, all the consultants and computer work, even the cost of the essential program itself."

One large problem, said Noonan, was that Democrats pushed to pass the bill without knowing what was in it and without bothering to understand its implications.

The bill's biggest proponent, California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, was Democratic House speaker, when she said "that we have to pass the bill to find out what's in it." That was a "historic admission" that she was fighting for something she didn't understand, said Noonan. "This is how we make laws now."

But while Republicans were alarmed, Democrats for the next three years were inspired and "would carry on like blithering idiots making believe they'd read the bill and understood its implications," wrote Noonan.

The White House, meanwhile, "lied in a way so specific it showed they knew exactly what to spin and how," Noonan said, including President Barack Obama's promises that Americans could keep their healthcare plans and doctors.

However, that wasn't true, as "your existing policy had to pass muster with the administration, which would fight to the death to ensure that 60-year-old women have pediatric dental coverage," said Noonan.

But the bill has not insured tens of millions of uninsured Americans, as promised, but it "has terrorized millions who did have insurance and lost it, or who still have insurance and may lose it," she said.

But the program is too defeating to be comprehended, and two things will happen, Noonan wrote: "Those inclined to like the spirit of the thing will support it on the assumption the government knows what its doing. And the opposition will find it difficult to effectively oppose—or repeal the thing—because of the program's bureaucratic density and complexity.
It's like wrestling a manic, many-armed squid in ink-darkened water."

Another problem is that the bill that was signed in 2010 is far different than the law that now exists, after parts have been delayed or changed 30 times, she said.
"It is telling that the president rebuffed Congress when it asked to work with him on alterations, but had no qualms about doing them by executive fiat," said Noonan.

Supporters have also changed their words, going from "this is an excellent bill, and opponents hate the needy" to "People will love it once they have it" to "We may need some changes" to "I've co-sponsored a bill to make needed alterations" to "This will be seen by posterity as an advance in human freedom."

Meanwhile, she contended that there are few Democrats who would pass Obamacare again.

"Some would do something different, but they wouldn't do this," Noonan said. "The cost of the blunder has been too high in terms of policy and politics."

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