Regulation By The Pound

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell posted on Twitter yesterday this picture of printed-out Obamacare regulations to date:


“This is over 20,000 pages and measures 7′ 2.5″,” writes Warner Todd Huston. “These are all the Obamacare regulations published in the Federal Register up through last week. Then last Friday they added another 828 pages.”

But remember, this is going to make health insurance and health care cheaper and affordable. Because that’s what reams and reams of government regulation always accomplishes, right? Maybe not so much. According to the Associated Press, applying for health insurance through Obamacare is going to be about as fun and easy as doing your income taxes:

The government’s draft application runs 15 pages for a three-person family. An outline of the online version has 21 steps, some with additional questions.

Seven months before the Oct. 1 start of enrollment season for millions of uninsured Americans, the idea that getting health insurance could be as easy as shopping online at Amazon or Travelocity is starting to look like wishful thinking.

At least three major federal agencies, including the IRS, will scrutinize your application. …

“When you combine those two processes, it is enormously time consuming and complex,” added Pollack. He’s calling for the government to simplify the form and, more important, for an army of counselors to help uninsured people navigate the new system. It’s unclear who would pay for these navigators.

Drafts of the paper application and a 60-page description of the online version were quietly posted online by the Health and Human Services Department, seeking feedback from industry and consumer groups. Those materials, along with a recent HHS presentation to insurers, run counter to the vision of simplicity promoted by administration officials.

I always chuckle when I see Obamacare and the exchanges it creates compared to free-market examples like Amazon or Travelocity. Because the government didn’t have to create Amazon or Travelocity. Those businesses were created by private investors and innovators providing a service to meet a demand.

The government can’t create markets (look no further than the failed attempts to push ethanol, solar and wind into the energy markets). The government can only regulate them.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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