There is an air of absurdity to what is mistakenly called “health-care reform.” Everyone knows that the United States faces massive governmental budget deficits as far as calculators can project, driven heavily by an aging population and uncontrolled health costs. Recovering slowly from a devastating recession, it’s widely agreed that, though deficits should not be cut abruptly (lest the economy resume its slump), a prudent society would embark on long-term policies to control health costs, reduce government spending, and curb massive future deficits. The president and his top economic advisers all say this.
So, what do they do? Just the opposite. Their sweeping overhaul of the health-care system””which Congress is halfway toward enacting””would almost certainly make matters worse. It would create new, open-ended medical entitlements that would probably expand deficits and do little to suppress surging health costs. The disconnect between what Obama says and what he’s doing is so glaring that most people could not abide it. The president and his allies have no trouble. But reconciling blatantly contradictory objectives requires them to engage in willful self-deception, public dishonesty, or both.