WSJ: We're Sorry We Were Too Soft on Obamacare

Thursday, 04 Jul 2013 10:20 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The Wall Street Journal, a leading and persistent critic of Obamacare, apologized to its readers Thursday for being too soft over the law.

"These columns fought the Affordable Care Act from start to passage, and we'd now like to apologize to our readers. It turns out we weren't nearly critical enough," the paper said in an editorial on its website.

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"The law's implementation is turning into a fiasco for the ages, and this week's version is the lawless White House decision to delay the law's insurance mandate for businesses, though not for individuals."

That decision, announced Tuesday evening,  is the latest in a series of blunders by the Obama administration, the paper said.

The change was revealed in a blog post by Mark Mazur, a deputy assistant Treasury secretary, and came just as Washington "began to evacuate for the long Independence Day weekend."

White House Spokeswoman Valerie Jarrett tried to handle the fallout from the surprise announcement with a blog post of her own, saying Obamacare is still on track.

"That's true only if she's referring to the carelessness and improvisation that have defined the law so far," the Journal said.

And while Mazur blamed the delay on the "complexity" of the bill, the paper points out that Treasury's computers and technology aren't ready to take on the checks required of the extensive healthcare act's provisions.

"This is more than a typical government snafu. It relates directly to the design of the law, which was thoughtlessly written and rammed through Congress with instructions for the bureaucracy to figure it all out," the editorial said.

The paper has published dozens of editorials and Op-Ed columns slamming the Affordable Health Care.

For example, on June 20, writers Al Lewis and Vik Khanna wrote about how Obamacare calls for workplace wellness plans as a way to cut insurance costs — and how the plans seldom have any success even without employer mandates.

Just the day before, a review and opinion piece pointed out the "Obamacare Trail of Tears," saying there is no way the government would be able to start the mandates involved by October.

These and several other editorial pieces through the past months have pointed out the publication's strong opinions about Obamacare, which, according to Thursday's scathing piece, were not strong enough.

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"Obamacare has become a rolling 'train wreck,' in Sen. Max Baucus's memorable phrase, and it gets worse the more of it the public sees. The employer mandate is terrible policy, as the law's critics said before it passed.

"Now the Administration is all but admitting it can't implement it properly, and the task for opponents is to press the concession and begin to delay the rest of the law and dismantle it piece by piece."

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