Thursday, October 24, 2013

There are few things as stupid as NY Times stupid

Charles Blow is something of a guilty pleasure of mine and yesterday's column on the ACA did not disappoint in its vapidity, stupidity, and completely missing the point. Like it or not, the ACA, or Obamacare, is the law and so part of the job of the Congress is to oversee how the executive is spending the money that Congress appropriates. Congressmen do this both for programs that they approve of and disapprove of. It's part of the job. But in Charles Blow's mind this normal activity is a sign of illegitimate obstruction. It's utterly precious for Blow to say "If Republicans are correct, that the law is the abomination that they say it is, it will be borne out in due time with jobs killed and premiums raised" as premiums are being raised already and people are being thrown en masse out of full time status and into part time work. These bad things have been happening all this year and started happening even before then. If that's the standard, the law has already failed, but Charles Blow doesn't show evidence of any contact with this news. The idea that the health law is rising in popularity is another exercise in spin as the health law's polling chart on Real Clear Politics demonstrates. The most recent high water mark was in the second week of August, 2012 when support was only 4.7% below opposition with a support level of 42.6%. The most recent support level is 39.9% (October 21, 2013), which is behind opposition to the law by 10.6%. The general trend is a gentle slope downwards in support. Blow's major problem is that he hasn't come to grips with the fact that the world doesn't fit the worldview that wrote Obamacare and rammed it through Congress on a party line vote. Ludwig von Mises 1920 observation that government is incapable of calculating prices has not been refuted. The hollowing out of the US medical system since the 1960s when government started calculating prices for doctors continues apace and Obamacare only minimally helps that situation by at least partially switching from AMA owned CPT billing codes for which the AMA charges royalties and to WHO owned ICD-10 PCS billing codes for which the WHO only asserts copyright so that the system is not misused. It's not enough and people will continue to get hurt by the opaqueness of healthcare billing. In a nation that is rapidly heading for a cliff, progress is measured by how much you can slow down the headlong rush towards disaster. The refusal of the GOP to just give in and join in the lemming rush towards the precipice is one of its finer moments. Blow accidentally arrives at a bit of truth. The fact that the Obama administration managed this web site project like it was the early 1970s is likely not to loom large in history's judgment of this episode. What will loom larger is the Democratic party's adoption of unsustainable solutions to an economic sector that was already badly damaged by government intervention and price distortion.