We have the privilege of knowing Kathleen Sebelius, and wish her nothing but the best in the future.
So it provides us no pleasure to conclude that her recent past appears to have been nothing short of a national disaster.
The secretary of Health and Human Services, who is mercifully and belatedly leaving office, will forever be the face of the disastrous government health-care rollout that became a sick joke – even, notably, among the fawning comedians who otherwise have been a safe haven for the Obama administration lo these five years.
Not laughing, of course, are the millions who lost their cherished health insurance, and the millions of others who tore their hair out trying to navigate Sebelius’ maddeningly incompetent enterprise.
Also not amused are the millions of American business owners who have been juggling time cards, work forces, insurance worries and budget uncertainties while Sebelius, Obama and others in the administration have arbitrarily changed deadlines, rewritten rules and suspended whole portions of the health care law.
Those suspensions have been made necessary by the confluence of two toxic rivers: an incomprehensible, hastily assembled mastodon of a law, and this administration’s stunning inability to implement even its simplest elements.
To wit: In a day and age in which department store websites handle much more online traffic with infinitely more ease, the awesome power of the United States government under Sebelius could not manage to build a website capable of the most menial tasks for the least amount of visitors.
The stop-and-start, seat-of-the-pants rollout has been an unmitigated failure and an unforgivable dereliction of the most personal, delicate and important facet of our lives: our health care.
Moreover, all along Sebelius – while failing to predict deadline changes and to properly advise Congress and the people – has professed complete and utter ignorance of how many of the supposed 7-plus-million “enrollees” have actually paid a premium.
Perhaps she can be forgiven for having no interest in knowing that little thing; such details may be inconsequential to inveterate state-o-crats with 24-hour access to taxpayers’ wallets. Indeed, insurance companies tasked with covering Obamacare enrollees can call on the bottomless pit of borrowed federal money to make them whole.
That officials might have meant well cannot be assumed of all parties in this debacle. There is good reason to believe the true intent of all this is to eliminate private insurance altogether in favor of a single-payer, government-run health-care system. Barack Obama was once caught on video espousing it himself.
Again, knowing Sebelius, we have no reason to believe anything but good intentions on her part.
But her failing – similar to the president’s – is a pure, unalloyed and wholly unwarranted faith in the power of government to bring order to, and in many respects run, the most intimate details of every American’s life.
Sebelius’ exit is long overdue; no one in charge of such a shipwreck would’ve survived an extra day in a private sector venture. Nor does her riding off into the sunset produce the accountability so lacking in this administration (Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS targeting of conservatives, etc.).
Besides that general lack of answerability, it’s likely Sebelius was able to hang on as long as she did because she and the president are a good fit; both of them project a cool, “Relax, I’ve got this” persona that effectively shrouds the stark reality that, no, they don’t “got it.” Not at all.
Fittingly, Sebelius’ resignation speech Friday was hit by a glitch: a page of it went missing.
No one knows yet how bad this leviathan law will be in the long run. Regardless, the Sebelius fiasco should be held up in textbooks as a text-book case of the dangerous arrogance of liberal government elites who think they can run one-sixth of the world’s largest economy, with all its moving parts, and be home for supper.
But here’s the rub: Even if they fail, they may just take the private insurance market with them – and end up getting us the single-payer system they really always wanted.