Since President Barack Obama refuses to replace any of his political appointees responsible for the epic bureaucratic failure that is Healthcare.gov, liberal supporters of health care reform are trying to turn the crisis into a potential power grab.
“Advocates have been quietly pushing the idea of a CEO who would set marketplace rules, coordinate with insurers and state regulators on the health plans offered for sale, supervise enrollment campaigns and oversee technology,” says a Reuters report.
The move would consolidate responsibility in the hands of one person that reports directly to the White House.
In other words, it would create a “Healthcare.gov Czar,” or, to use the title preferred by FDR when naming such deputies, a dictator.
Since no such position exists in the text of Obamacare, its creation would amount to a unilateral executive action by the President. Unlike the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the proposed dictator would not be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. If created, the position would be immune from virtually any oversight from Congress.
Moreover, erecting a Healthcare.gov CEO within the confines of the White House would be a fundamental rejection of the intended operating structure of Obamacare by the very President who signed it into law.
These reasons, plus others, may explain why the White House is said not to be entertaining such a drastic break with the health law’s basic architecture. Even they fear the likely blowback from a move that further centralizes political control of the health insurance industry.
Still, the fact that Obama’s most liberal supporters are pushing this idea – including Ezekiel Emanuel and wonks at the Center for American Progress – shows that the tendency on the Left is to interpret any problem in implementation as stemming from a lack of power. The endpoint for them is a single-payer system run exclusively by the feds.
Even if this proposal goes nowhere, its currency among the liberal elite shows us where this train is heading. Better to dismantle it before it passes the point of no return.