Malfunctioning Exchanges Show Why Liberals Were Right

Max Ehrenfreund | Washington Monthly | October 20, 2013

Once upon a time, the individual mandate was considered a conservative idea.

The technical problems with the new insurance exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act, which according to Yuval Levin are serious and could potentially have non-technical, very real and lasting consequences, support an argument that liberals have been making for a long time. I don’t mean neoliberals or progressives — the people in the Obama administration who thought the whole individual mandate thing was a good idea. I mean real liberals, who believe that requiring everyone to buy medical insurance on their own is needlessly complicated, and a better policy would simply be to create a system with a single payer.

To use Steven Teles’s preferred term, our new health care system is a kludge, meaning it is an inelegant, improvised, and complex solution to a problem that could be solved better and more simply. Teles points out that our government, which is far more complicated and probably less competent than most comparable governments around the world, can basically be described as a kludgey kludge of kludges.