Opinion

We need Government, Inc.

Hughey Newsome Advisory Council, Project 21

It’s clear ObamaCare’s on-line operations weren’t made in Japan.

In 2010, after recalling millions of its cars for acceleration problems that caused countless accidents and several deaths, Toyota president Akio Toyoda took responsibility — apologizing for his company’s failure before the U.S. Congress. In 2011, Honda CEO Takanobu Ito similarly took responsibility for the poor rollout of its 2012 Civic.

But when President Barack Obama, essentially the CEO of the federal government, finally weighed in on the glitch-plagued Obamacare insurance exchange web sites, the famously self-absorbed leader refused to inject himself into the problem.

Obama took no responsibility for the failures of his signature initiative. While claiming “nobody’s more frustrated by that than I am,” he nonetheless downplayed delays and log-offs by saying that Obamacare “is not just a web site.”

Tell that to those who must find coverage on the sites lest they incur the wrath of the IRS!

Quite frankly, it’s not the expected behavior of a CEO after a poor product launch. A CEO’s board of directors might even fire them for it under heavy exposure. But there is no equivalent in the private sector to the government’s lack of accountability. Dismissing Obamacare’s online problems by saying the law is “much more” than its web site even though it’s key to the rollout is more than troubling.

Obamacare’s original price tag was around $1 trillion, but if the web site does not generate more enrollees, fewer healthy participants could drive costs even higher.

Any business leader understands that investor and customer confidence are very transient, and that an inability to foster them can cause stock prices and revenues to drop.

It’s ironic that the government recently fined JPMorgan Chase a whopping $13 billion for intentionally misleading investors. It happened at roughly the same time Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who is responsible for implementing Obamacare, failed to act appropriately when told by contractors in charge of web site’s development that it was still flawed. Even worse, Sebelius also initially declined requests to address congressional panels about the problems.

Congressional conservatives feel the best solution for Obamacare’s problems is to repeal and replace it. This controversial stance led to the partial government shutdown.

As radical as it appeared, their desperation now seems more understandable to the American people.

Households and businesses do not readily survive catastrophic mismanagement of their own or investors’ resources. Government mismanagement, on the other hand, does not always suffer the same repercussions.

Liberals adhere to a tried-and-true cycle to promote their agenda – draw focus onto the human side of a policy debate, crush opposition as inhumane or immoral, develop a policy that assumes bureaucracies can solve problems, and demand tax dollars.  This mentality will undoubtedly sustain even a failed Obamacare infrastructure for years to come.

But problems are apparent. The web site is a massive cost overrun. It was supposed to cost $100 million to develop, but has thus far cost over $630 million — with countless additional hours now needed to fix its problems.

When one considers how the natural free market forces correct problems in the private sector, and how Obama is virtually free and clear of repercussions despite Obamacare’s chaotic start (after three years to prepare), one can appreciate the zeal with which conservatives criticized this law and the disappointment many private citizens have for a plan many earnestly supported.

One possible game-changing element of the Obamacare website debacle was that it was public and undeniable. And, due to the nature of the federal government and the entrenched mentality of the Obama Administration, it’s likely the first of many mistakes of such magnitude.

While they cannot act as quickly as a board of directors, American voters have the power to install an entirely new and philosophically different leadership team in just a few years.  ObamaCare could be the catalyst for such profound change, and thus lead to its demise.