Over $2 trillion will be poured into Obamacare over the next decade but even that won't be enough, so the government is going to private health care companies and even lobbyists with a begging bowl. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has been hitting the telephones and looking for speaking dates in a hunt for big-dollar donations.
Grim reality is closing in on Mrs. Sebelius and the Obamacrats. Another of the scheme's architects, Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, a loyal Democrat, is retiring from the Senate, eager to get out of town before getting caught in a "train wreck." Time magazine's Joe Klein, a tireless cheerleader for Barack Obama and all his works, writes of "Obamacare Incompetence," and reckons the administration's inability to implement the bureaucratic monstrosity will have grave consequences beyond just health care. "The notion of activist government will be in peril," he warns, "if institutions like ... Obamacare don't deliver the goods." That sounds like a silver lining, but we take his point.
President Obama himself concedes that "mistakes and hiccups" will continue along the way. The early enrollment forms and explanations took up 60 printed pages. Bureaucrats scaled back the information grab with a relatively more sensible three-page form.
Other problems won't be scaled back so easily, which is why Mrs. Sebelius is looking for outside help. She envisions a propaganda campaign to sell the turkey, led by the likes of Enroll America, an outfit run by Anne Filipic, former deputy director of President Obama's Office of Public Engagement. (That's the "community organizer" chair at the White House.) This is just south of outrageous. A former government employee can raise private money, unseemly as it might be, but it's beyond seemly for a sitting Cabinet secretary to do it. Federal law prohibits agency heads from begging for cash from anyone with business before the government. Without such a law health care officials would be asked for "voluntary" donations to land federal contracts.
The top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, prescribes a thorough investigation. "To solicit funds from health care executives to help pay for the implementation of the president's $2.6 trillion health spending law is absurd," says Mr. Hatch. "Moving forward, I will be seeking more information from the administration about these actions to help better understand whether there are conflicts of interest and if it violated federal law."
That approaching train wreck keeps speeding at us. The Internal Revenue Service is preparing to exact $95 penalties to everyone who fails to sign up for health insurance, beginning in 2014. With premiums rising because of government interference in the marketplace, many consumers, especially the young and healthy, will pay the $95 "tax" to avoid paying thousands in unnecessary higher premiums. The sick and elderly will flood the system, while the young stand aside to watch. Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, a key adviser for the Obamacare effort, says the system will self-destruct unless the young enroll. He thinks they will because "young people believe in President Obama." Mrs. Sebelius and her frightened colleagues, on the other hand, are putting their trust in the panic button.
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