Now that the GOP have temporarily given up the spotlight, the rollout of healthcare.gov is doing all the work for them. The president is hardly charming us into submission. The near future doesn’t look promising either. I think there’s something we can learn here beyond political talking points and even political theory as such.
Politics is never a matter of ideals. It is always a matter of execution. Even if the ideas behind the Affordable Care Act are sound, implementing them in a way that addresses the entire country is an entirely different matter. And knowing a little about how the political sausage is made is essential for true political prudence.
For instance, is it any surprise that the government did not actually recruit the best web-designers and technicians, but rather farmed out the work to professional bidders? Couldn’t anyone who has ever worked on city-level government, much less state and federal levels have predicted that?
So much of the argument around “Obamacare” is really quite meaningless at this point. While most talking heads continue to ask whether the government ought to be involved in healthcare or not, the more important question is how a country as large as the US ought to attempt national projects at all and what the best avenues of delegation are. The status quo isn’t it.
Right now we are stuck in the very typical business of politics. Committees do the work (which no one ever seems to actually be responsible for) and they manage to avoid actual accountability or competition. Everything is played close to the chest, and very small groups of actors retain maximum control. As the Daily Beast puts it, “When push comes to shove, the White House does not trust citizens or the press, and it definitely doesn’t trust the entrepreneurial spirit of small business.”