Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal approaches the gargantuan bureaucracy that Obamacare would bring from a fresh perspective:
"In a world defined by nearly 100,000 iPhone apps, a world of seemingly limitless, self-defined choice, the Democrats are pushing the biggest, fattest, one-size-fits all legislation since 1965. And they brag this will complete the dream Franklin D. Roosevelt had in 1939.
"The culture still believes the U.S. has a hipster for president. But the Obama health-care bill, and maybe this whole administration, is starting to look totally out of sync with the new zeitgeist, the spirit of the age.
"Everything about the health-care exercise is looking very old hat, starting with the old guys working on it. Max Baucus, Patrick Leahy, Pete Stark — all were elected to Congress in the 1970s, and live on as the immortals in Washington's Forever Land. But it's more than the fact that Congress looks old. The health-care bill is big, complex, incomprehensible and coercive — all the things people hate nowadays."
"Our outdated political software can't recognize trial and error."
"So long as the Democratic Party is the party of the Old Hat People, dependent on public-sector unions with Orwellian names like the Service Employees International Union, it will remain yoked to a pre-iPhone political model that will increasingly strike average everyday American voters as weird and alien to their world."
It may seem unrelated, but a few days ago I read an article about people who have ditched their TV sets but not their favorite TV shows. One person is quoted as saying "I can watch anything I want, any time I want." When my college-age daughter has a favorite show airing when she's at class, she no longer records it on her VCR -- she just says "Oh, I'll watch it online later."
We're in an era where doctors can read x-rays on iPhones, where someone can be following a major league baseball game or checking the times for the local movie theater on their phone while they're at their child's soccer game or standing in line at the grocery store. (And at the grocery store, if we're in a hurry we have the choice of using the self-service scanner.) We don't need to go to the bank when it's open, we go to a 24-hour ATM or log in and transfer money online when we have the time to do it. In our society we're increasingly able to handle daily tasks on our own terms, not as directed by others.
In contrast, Obamacare not only imposes a huge bureaucracy on every American, with its inevitable rationing and restriction of choices, but it taxes medical devices -- in other words, taxing the very innovations that work to make our lives better and bring increased freedom and choice to our lives. Just think, for example, about how knee and hip replacements have improved the quality of life for senior citizens. Yet Congress wants to heavily tax these kinds of innovations, punishing both those who create them and those who wish to use them.
I think Henninger makes a fascinating point here, and I hope his conclusion is correct.
Friday Update: Here's a list of the taxes found in the bill thus far.
As stated above, medical devices and procedures will be taxed. Among the items we will pay taxes on under Obamacare: Mammograms, dentures, wheelchairs, and soft contact lenses.
I continue to wonder: how does taxing medical devices and procedures, thus raising the prices, make medical care "more affordable"? Yes, that's a rhetorical question.
Update: The current plan outlaws the sale of private health insurance plans to individuals beginning in 2013. As having insurance will be mandated, this means individuals will be forced to enter the government insurance program. So much for more options and competition...