- - Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Have you heard the news? There’s a nationwide apology tour going on right now, and President Obama is leading it.

The president is saying he’s “sorry” to those American families losing their health insurance owing to the incompetence and mismanagement of his plan, Obamacare. It turns out his administration “fumbled the rollout” with Obamacare and the Healthcare.gov website, even though they supposedly “worked hard to try to make sure [they] implemented it properly.”

Fascinating. Obamacare has been effective since March 23, 2010. So how could the general public ever expect an efficient rollout when the Obamacare staff only had three years’ advance notice? Gosh, the nerve of some people to have such high expectations.

It also turns out, as the president said, “We weren’t as clear as we needed to be in terms of the changes that were taking place,” and changes are necessary. I could see that, especially when they’re taking away an individual’s freedom to choose a preferred health care plan.

To be fair, Mr. Obama could have said something like, “Sorry, but many Americans are going to be victimized by Obamacare. Don’t worry your pretty little heads about it, however. As long as I’m president, everything’s going to be just fine. Now, who’s still all worked up about those Washington Redskins and their nickname? Anyone? Anyone?”

Then again, that message might have been a bit too clear for tin-eared crowds.

It’s really nice (swell, even) that the president is apologizing for Obamacare’s current difficulties, but I’m afraid that sorry isn’t enough to make up for this mess.

For years, conservative and libertarian commentators constantly warned Americans that Obamacare would be costly and had major flaws. For instance, the law’s total price tag could reportedly be close to $1 trillion, as well as an estimated loss of 80,000 jobs, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Republicans also attempted to show Americans why the White House’s health care plan wouldn’t work. What did they receive in return? Democratic criticism that this was “Tea Party-inspired” opposition, and “real, moderate Republicans” would see the obvious benefits of the plan.

Nice try. You don’t have to be a Tea Party supporter to realize Obamacare was the equivalent of an economic black hole. No Republican, from Ronald Reagan to Olympia J. Snowe, would have ever backed Mr. Obama’s health care debacle.

Alas, many Americans didn’t pay attention to these warnings. They also couldn’t resist the temptation of having “free” health care at their disposal. There’s only one problem: Obamacare isn’t free.

I live in Canada, a country with publicly funded health care (only 30 percent of health expenditures are private). There is a decades-old myth, perpetuated by Canadian liberals and socialists who don’t know any better, that our health system is a model for other countries to follow. Some U.S. Democrats have even sold this position to middle-class and impoverished Americans as a means of getting a new health care system.

Yet there is more than ample evidence that Canada’s single-payer system is inefficient and a bloated bureaucratic nightmare. Various reports from domestic think tanks (including the Fraser Institute, the C.D. Howe Institute, the Montreal Economic Institute and the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies) have shown that it doesn’t help patients, reduce waiting times or increase opportunities for certain medical procedures.

Finally, consider this revealing statistic. In a 2000 World Health Organization study of 191 member countries, the pre-Obama U.S. system placed 37th, while Canada’s health care system was ranked 30th — only seven places better. It’s true the study was criticized for its methodology, and there are reportedly changes in the works. Still, no matter how you slice it, a single-payer system is not the panacea the political left claims it is.

Americans are beginning to learn that Obamacare (which isn’t the same as Canadian health care, of course) is starting to develop similar flaws. From the computer glitches after Obamacare was launched, to the limitations of freedom with respect to choosing or maintaining a family physician in certain states, to the outright loss of health insurance, this is a financial disaster waiting to happen.

That’s why some Democrats are joining with Republicans in opposing Obamacare. It wouldn’t even surprise me if the president’s health care dream was either massively reformed, aggressively chopped or completely eliminated by 2014. Sorry, Mr. President, but an nationwide Obamacare apology tour just isn’t going to cut it.

Michael Taube is a contributor to The Washington Times.

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