NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- One need only compare the sense of dispatch at FedEx (FDX) with time endured to send a package via the U.S. Postal Service to recognize the federal government doesn't do things quite as well as the private sector. It doesn't even function as well as state bureaucracies.
Now, ObamaCare, which affects an industry larger than the economies of France or Great Britain, is proving the Department of Health and Human Services can be more incompetent than many Third World governments. These past few weeks, poor Mexico could sign up urban poor for health care with less mess than Washington did folks needing insurance in San Antonio.
In Europe, national health care systems deliver coverage for everyone at remarkably lower cost, and in countries with per capita income comparable to the United States, a lot better care. The United States spends 18% of GDP on health care; Germany and Holland spend about 12% with better results.
One only need look behind the rollout of the federal health insurance exchanges to see why.President Obama sees every decision from the timing for sending his mother-in-law a birthday card to those required for the rollout of the exchange as a political calculation. The bureaucrats at Health and Human Services ordered CGI, the private contractor primarily responsible for designing the exchanges, not to permit visitors to browse prices anonymously. That would allow young people with decent jobs to compare the prices they must pay for insurance, lest they face harsh penalties, with the subsidized prices offered other young folks with lower wage jobs. After all, those jarring differences might cause young voters, whose allegiance to President Obama has been weakened by an economic recovery that does not deliver decent prospects for their advancement, to vote for whatever Republican promises less government and dares to run against Hilary Clinton. This political decision was made less than a month before the exchanges went live and threw a terrible wrench into the rollout. Like the IRS decision to harass conservative non-profits and community activists, it is not clear how high up that decision was made -- the HHS division directly supervising CGI, Secretary Sibelius or the White House.
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