It may not be a surprise that Republicans, and some Democrats, are now calling for the resignation or termination of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, given the absolute calamity that is the HealthCare.gov launch. But is the call for her head really fair? Probably not.
It is probably fair to say that no unelected bureaucrat, regardless of party or experience, could possibly keep HHS running smoothly. Forget that half a billion dollars were thrown at building a website – quite possibly the most expensive website launch in the history of the internet – over three years, the idea of a federal bureaucracy delivering a consumer ready product over any amount of time and expense is laughable.
Over the years much has been made of the headaches and hassles involved at the DMV. The DMV is such an easy target it has become a joke frequented by mediocre comedians. And yet, after decades and untold expense, the DMV lines are just as long or longer, and the service is just as bad.
Put frankly, Sebelius was given a task no government bureaucrat could have accomplished. In fact, many don’t realize HHS has the greatest cut of the budgetary pie, consisting of $941 billion, or roughly 25% of the total federal budget. Could anyone, anywhere, oversee the proper spending and allocation of such a huge amount of money? Could anyone possibly claim they not only could ensure the money was spent wisely, but that the services provided would be of the top quality?
If launching a website is too monumental a task for the all-powerful federal government, what will we get from the “Independent Payment Advisory Board” (IPAB)? This was the “death panel” Sarah Palin made so famous. IPAB submits “recommendations” to Congress which automatically take effect unless a supermajority can override them. Which is to say, 15 unelected directors will decide what services should be cut, suspended or done away with. Those decisions, by the way, are exempted from administrative or judicial review.
HealthCare.gov isn’t a disaster because Secretary Sebelius is incompetent, though she very well may be, but because this is the inevitable results of big government. The members of Congress now demanding Sebelius’ head have found a handy scapegoat, but a disingenuous one. If the GOP has any sense left at all, they will hold up HealthCare.gov as a perfect example, a living example, of exactly why big government can never work. Fingers should be pointed for this debacle, but they should be pointed at the very people who brought us Obamacare: the Democrats in Congress and President Obama.