by Julie Tisdale
City & County Policy Analyst
There’s an interesting piece on Forbes.com this morning about Obamacare. According to Avik Roy, the administration has missed half of the deadlines imposed by the Affordable Care Act. Yes, that’s right, they’ve missed half of the deadlines of their own legislation. And that’s probably a conservative estimate.
As of May 31, 2013, when the CRS analysis was completed, the White House had yet to meet 9 of 12 deadlines from the first year after the Affordable Care Act was enacted. It failed to meet 22 of 53 deadlines in the second year; another 8 became moot after Congress did not appropriate funds to complete the assigned tasks. In year three, the administration missed 10 out of 17 deadlines. That’s a total of 41 out of 82 deadlines missed.
If you exclude the 9 deadlines that became moot because Congress never appropriated the funds to meet them, the Obama administration missed 41 out of 73 deadlines, or 56 percent.
Some of the missed deadlines seem serious; others don’t. And Roy’s clear that this shouldn’t be seen as the downfall of Obamacare, much as some might wish that were the case. Obamacare continues to move forward, missed deadlines and all.
But it seems to me that this reveals something important about the law. The Obama administration believes in this. It’s been a key part of their agenda from day one. They want to implement some sort of fundamental health care overhaul. The Affordable Care Act is their attempt at that major reform.
But even they can’t do it. It’s too complicated. It’s too much detail. It demands too much from the government, which just really isn’t very good at these sorts of things. We’re talking about overseeing a system that is supposed to provide individual health care for hundreds of millions of people. That’s horrendously complex. If even the early stages are this difficult to get together, if they can’t meet deadlines for publishing reports or for developing standards for reporting outcomes, then why should we have any confidence that they’re going to be able to manage an entire health care system moving forward?
And that’s what critics of central planning have been saying all along.
The one thing the government is really good at doing is spending a lot of money. Taxpayer money. My money. Your money. As Roy says,
Obamacare may fail at reducing insurance premiums, or at wisely using taxpayer funds. But the law is scheduled to spend $1.9 trillion over the next ten years. At that, it is unlikely to fail.