In 1958 the Chinese dictator Mao Zedong introduced a plan called The Great Leap Forward to fundamentally transform China’s agrarian economy into a government-controlled, centrally-planned system via forced collectivization. In 2009 the American president Barack Obama introduced a plan called The Affordable Care Act (ACA) to fundamentally transform one-sixth of America’s economy from market-based, consumer-choice insurance into a government-controlled, centrally-planned system based on forced collectivization.
I’m not suggesting that Barack Obama is a communist. But both the Mao plan and the Obama plan share the same operative concept: that massive price controls and central management can be undertaken without consequences. Both plans follow a three-step pattern common to autocratic schemes: 1.) The regime bases its plan on irrational methodology because they have no knowledge or experience in dealing with the market they seek to control; 2.) When things begin to go hideously wrong, the ruler and underlings dig in and make it worse, claiming ignorance and dissembling rather than revising the disastrous plan; and 3.) The plan-makers blame their failure on their political enemies, whom they demonize in the hope of dodging responsibility.
Distrusting insurance companies and completely ignorant of the healthcare industry (or any other business for that matter), Obama and his ACA creators avoided the advice of experts, doctors, and hospital administrators and installed government-mandated insurance coverage that eliminated many old insurance plans and Americans’ right to choose one to fit their personal needs. Although Obama incessantly promised Americans that they could keep their plans and their doctors, he and his underlings knew as early as the 2010 Health and Human Services (HHS) report published in the Federal Register that the ACA would cause at least 93 million Americans to lose their health care plans because the new mandates render them illegal.
Mao also destroyed his people’s traditional way of doing business to serve his vision. For centuries, peasants made their livelihoods by farming their land, renting or selling it, or using it as collateral for loans. When the government eliminated private landholdings and installed a commune system, it robbed families of their ability to subsist.
Incompetence and sheer idiocy fueled the growing calamity. Mao’s stubborn insistence on irrational farming methods that had already been tried and failed in the USSR doomed the Great Leap Forward. Then, noting that sparrows ate grain seeds, the state began a relentless campaign to exterminate the birds and awarded prizes to villagers who shot, clubbed, or trapped them. When the sparrows were nearly extinct, the locusts came, devouring the crops with no fear of sparrow predators.
Barack Obama and HHS’s stubbornness doomed Obamacare. To obtain approval, new plans have to adhere to new standards that force everyone to pay for coverage they didn’t want or need, such as pediatric dental care for the childless, and free birth control and maternity benefits for women who have had their tubes tied. These benefits made the new plans much more costly. Instead of saving consumers $2,500 per year as Obama pledged, deductibles rose an average of 26 percent. Though Obamacare’s economics depend on the young and healthy paying higher premiums to subsidize the plans of older Americans, the law itself torpedoed that strategy by letting youth stay on their parents’ plans until age 26.
Incompetence and sheer idiocy fueled the growing calamity, culminating in a laughingly inept website that cost hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars but was so dysfunctional it failed to even provide a payment function allowing users to purchase insurance. The website’s own creators said its security was so abysmal they would be afraid to use it.
When millions began losing their healthcare and doctors because Obamacare rendered their plans illegal, Obama blamed the insurance companies and Republicans who lacked enthusiasm for government coercion. He insisted he had no idea that millions would lose their insurance and be forced to pay higher premiums at the non-functional Obamacare website. He had no idea that the website was in trouble. The president’s spokesman said the canceled plans were “substandard” and anyway, only five million people were affected. The party minions focused their energies on talking up how awesome Obamacare would be if the website worked. Finally, Obama announced a “fix” to let people keep their plans for another year. And when most insurers couldn’t perform the about-face contortions and reinstate the policies Obamacare had declared illegal, the greedy providers were blamed instead of the president.
When millions began starving in China, death reports were ignored by bureaucrats and Communist Party officials ordered mortality statistics destroyed. The party minions focused their energies on Mao’s goal to pay China’s debts to the USSR with grain which was exported while the people starved. Party leaders inflated grain yields up to 10 times actual amounts to satisfy superiors, and the state used those false yields to force higher grain exports. Some 22 million tons of grain was held in public granaries at the height of the famine according to Tombstone author, Yang Jisheng. People died of starvation at the doors of the grain warehouses as Mao dismissed reports of food shortages and even accused the peasants of hiding grain. In less than two years, 30 to 40 million Chinese starved to death.
When government demands absolute control over the personal liberty and the very life and death of its citizens, catastrophe results. The sparrow will have its revenge.
Joy Overbeck is a journalist and author in Colorado. Her quirky God website is www.godsayshi.org.