" 'If we had to do it all over again . . . there would have been a whole lot more questions that were asked," President Obama told NBC last week.
In this now-famous TV interview, Mr. Obama was referring to his health-care rollout, but there are plenty of other questions somebody should have asked. Here are a few: During the 2008 primary race, Mr. Obama, you rejected Hillary Clinton's proposed individual mandate. You said if health insurance were a good deal, nobody would have to be forced to buy it.
At your 2010 health-care summit, you dismissed what you called "house insurance"—cheap, high-deductible policies that protect people from serious illness or injury but otherwise leave them to fund routine medical care out of pocket. How do you reconcile this with your oft-stated promise that people can keep their existing insurance?
More important, how do you reconcile it with the fact that virtually all progress on cost control in the past 20 years has come from cost-sharing to make users more sensitive to the price and value of the care they consume? Are we just going to throw this progress away?
Your ObamaCare program is supposed to be financed with the mandate-cum-tax on the young plus Medicare cuts, but the mandate is weak and Congress won't deliver the Medicare cuts. Haven't you created another unfunded government program destined to be starved for money in the future as the reality of our fiscal situation begins to bite?
You tout the Affordable Care Act as a triumph over special interests, but the stock prices of the insurance industry have enjoyed a huge run-up. Isn't this because your program, boiled down, just throws more tax dollars at an unreformed health-care system that every analyst, including you, says spends resources inefficiently?
You cite RomneyCare as a model, but RomneyCare was enacted by a GOP governor and Democratic legislature with overwhelming public support. Wouldn't there be greater buy-in now from the public if your plan actually had been bipartisan, not to mention greater buy-in from the opposition party, aka Republicans, who are certain to become a governing party at some point in the future and responsible for carrying ObamaCare forward?
Your Affordable Care Act is a nice break with precedent in one way—it reserves its visible subsidies for the poor. Shouldn't we apply this excellent principle to Medicare and the giant tax benefit for employer-provided insurance? Isn't our problem that too many middle-class Americans are programmed to treat health care as a free lunch?
You and many Democrats secretly favor a single-payer system, so why didn't you run on a single-payer system? Why didn't John Kerry or Al Gore? Wouldn't it be a patriotic act to put the idea in front of the American people even if they reject it? This at least would clear the air and let us proceed with sensible, limited reforms aimed at improving incentives. . . .
Big, diverse, rambunctious societies have a lot of virtues, but one of them is not high levels of what economists call "social trust." This quality, noticeably absent in America, allows small, wealthy, homogenous societies to run giant redistributive schemes without intolerable levels of chiseling or taxpayers feeling like suckers.
Your feelings are hurt because the press is dwelling on those left worse off by ObamaCare, but the Affordable Care Act, in truth, makes care more affordable only for some and then only by shifting the cost to others. For society as a whole, health care will only consume a bigger share of national income—an additional $10 trillion in the next eight years, according to the Medicare actuary. The chances of health care becoming more affordable are nil and whether the act will even improve the health of the uninsured is doubtful. Your Federal Trade Commission exists to punish consumer fraud. Shouldn't you turn yourself in?"
So will the President ever be asked any of these questions by the mainstream media?
Of course not.
But that doesn't mean they're not important ones for We the People to ponder.
That's my take.