Or at least ‘un-difficult‘ (boldface mine):
All more or less true, but all stepping around one major point: The ObamaCare exchanges are a tremendous pain in the neck. Next time Democrats get a bite at the policy apple, they would be wise to make further health care reform as simple and hassle-free as possible. It would be better policy and better politics.
The thing a lot of liberal “wonks” fail to properly grasp is the degree to which people loathe hassle and paperwork (perhaps because the wonk class secretly gets off on having a detailed understanding of complicated policies they can explain to others). For most people, managing a retirement account, college savings plan, health savings account, and/or ObamaCare exchange plan is a hellishly obnoxious chore. Shopping around for a better price on the exchanges also means burdensome switching of health care providers. Doing your taxes — necessary to claim all sorts of benefits — is famously despised. Such things are so obnoxious that there are whole industries dedicated to doing them for you at a ridiculous premium.
All these are made worse by the complicated means tests which liberals invariably build into their policies (witness the four different eligibility schedules for the Earned Income Tax Credit). Now in addition to individuals managing the account itself, they’ve got to file more forms to prove their eligibility, and the government has to stand up a bureaucracy to process the forms and make sure people aren’t cheating. As income varies over the life cycle, this can mean repeatedly popping in and out of different programs, with corresponding tidal waves of red tape every time.
As an aside, this is good advice regarding healthcare:
Federalize Medicaid (thus stepping past refusenik Republican state governments), and increase the income eligibility ceiling. Put all children on Medicare, and enroll older people as early as can be got through Congress. Put a Medicare-like public option in the exchanges, and make it as easy as possible to enroll.
Such a package — call it HillaryCare — would be popular and virtually impossible to repeal.
Even if this makes it ‘free.’