Healthcare.gov the “progressive equivalent of declaring ketchup a vegetable”

posted at 4:01 pm on October 30, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

So says Jon Meacham on today’s Morning Joe, using an embarrassing but relatively innocuous episode from the Reagan administration to describe the impact of ObamaCare on the progressive agenda.  Meacham, a contributing editor to Time magazine, worries that this episode will get trotted out “for years and years” to rebuke progressives who want to pursue massive government projects, but Harold Ford has a better handle on its meaning (via Andrew Johnson at The Corner):

“This is a self-inflicted wound for people who believed in the public sector,” he said. “This is, in a way, the progressive equivalent of declaring ketchup a vegetable,” Meacham said on Wednesday morning; he also referred to the Packard Commission’s findings of a $600 toilet seat at the Pentagon as a similar anecdote of bungled government programs. “It will be used for years and years.”

Harold Ford, Jr. chimed in to agree that it will “raise real questions for the long-term about whether the government and public entities can manage enormous projects like this.”

That’s actually the long-term risk for the progressive agenda.  It’s not just that Republicans and conservatives can toss out a rhetorical bomb occasionally to embarrass big-government advocates.  It’s that the American people are getting a ringside seat for the definitive demonstration of what happens when government takes over the private sector because it thinks it can make decisions better than the market does.  And that’s not limited to Healthcare.gov, which should have been easy to launch with $400 million and 42 months of lead time, but the whole structure of the forced-redistribution model.

On the other hand, Ford then starts to make the argument that the issue isn’t policy overreach, but implies that the wrong people were put in place to accomplish that, to which Meacham objects. Expect to hear that argument a lot over the next several months as the creaky structure of ObamaCare collapses under its own weight — it would have worked with better people in charge.  No, in fact, it was doomed from the starting principle of thinking that a few politicians could run a free market better than those participating in it, including both providers and consumers.

CBS has more bad news on that score:

It is indeed “down the tubes,” but it will leave the skyrocketing premiums for consumers amid the rubble when it crashes. And with the incentives and disincentives now in place, younger and healthier Americans have no reason to buy expensive comprehensive insurance with high deductibles simply to redistribute their wealth to buffer costs for older and wealthier Americans, when they can just as easily pay the fine and buy insurance if they suddenly need it, thanks to the must-insure mandate.  That destruction will have a lot more political significance than calling ketchup a vegetable or a $600 Pentagon toilet seat, and it will haunt the progressive agenda for a generation or more, as I wrote last week.

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Actually the site is showing the rates for a 27 year old for anyone who’s 49 or under, and the rates for a 50 year old for anyone who’s 50 or over. It’s still a bait and switch, of course, as it’s designed to show significantly lower rates for such broad categories of ages. Done on purpose of course.

TXUS on October 30, 2013 at 2:55 PM

This illegality in “truth in advertising” must be exposed.

Schadenfreude on October 30, 2013 at 4:04 PM

S/b in quotes

Actually the site is showing the rates for a 27 year old for anyone who’s 49 or under, and the rates for a 50 year old for anyone who’s 50 or over. It’s still a bait and switch, of course, as it’s designed to show significantly lower rates for such broad categories of ages. Done on purpose of course.

TXUS on October 30, 2013 at 2:55 PM

Schadenfreude on October 30, 2013 at 4:06 PM

it would have worked with better people in charge.

That has been Socialisms excuse every single time it has been tried and failed. Trust us, this time we will do it right.

Johnnyreb on October 30, 2013 at 4:06 PM

nobody feels the pain of the military buying a $600 toilet seat but people do feel the pain of shelling huge dollars for something they don’t want to pay for, dems are dreaming if they think this will just be accepted because they want it to be

DanMan on October 30, 2013 at 4:07 PM

That has been Socialisms excuse every single time it has been tried and failed. Trust us, this time we will do it right.

Johnnyreb on October 30, 2013 at 4:06 PM

You just beat me to it.

rbj on October 30, 2013 at 4:09 PM

May the azzhole in the picture suffocate in obama’s butt, from consuming all that non-Beluga-caviar.

He is one of those who brung/kept the travesty upon the land of sheep.

Schadenfreude on October 30, 2013 at 4:10 PM

And the road to perfect socialism was at one time a 5 year plan. How’s that doing? We’re heading down the same path!!

Deano1952 on October 30, 2013 at 4:11 PM

In a proper function market for health insurance, there should be as many, or more, commercials for health insurance as there are for auto insurance.

It did not take the government to create an auto insurance marketplace, but it did take the government to never allow a health insurance marketplace to form.

WashJeff on October 30, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Calling ketchup a vegetable didn’t cause millions of lives to be disrupted.

Plus:

The USDA convened a panel of nutritionists and food service directors to ponder what to do. One option on the table–no one later would admit to putting it there–was to “accept catsup as a fruit/vegetable when used as an ingredient.” Some panel members seized on this as an opportunity to discuss whether to count ketchup even if used as a condiment.

From what I can tell, the motive wasn’t so much penuriousness as trying to face facts about what kids would actually eat. USDA standards at the time required that a reimbursable lunch consist of five items: meat, milk, bread, and two servings of fruit or vegetables. Many kids refused to eat the veggies and the stuff wound up as “plate waste.” Would-be realists on the panel reasoned that if they could count ketchup as a vegetable they could meet federal standards without having to throw away so many lima beans, thereby saving money while having no impact on the kids.

Looked at in a certain light, it made sense. Ketchup wasn’t the only newly permissible substitute: pickle relish and conceivably other condiments could also count as vegetables (precise interpretation was left to state officials); protein sources like tofu or cottage cheese could replace meat; and corn chips, pretzels, and other snacks could replace bread. Minimum portion sizes were also reduced, purportedly another effort to reduce waste.
~

Akzed on October 30, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Oh wake up, its been long proven big government can’t handle this or much of anything. A lot of the run away costs are due to gov interference in healthcare since the 1960s.

oryguncon on October 30, 2013 at 4:13 PM

Euck Fuphemisms.

Progressive = Communist.

OhEssYouCowboys on October 30, 2013 at 4:15 PM

The scumhag lied on “it’s illegal”

Schadenfreude on October 30, 2013 at 4:16 PM

On the other hand, Ford then starts to make the argument that the issue isn’t policy overreach, but implies that the wrong people were put in place to accomplish that, to which Meacham objects. Expect to hear that argument a lot over the next several months as the creaky structure of ObamaCare collapses under its own weight — it would have worked with better people in charge.

Months, years, decades, centuries, millennia, eons. It’s the same old tired argument socialists always pull from their you-know-whats when one of their schemes inevitably implodes.

NotCoach on October 30, 2013 at 4:17 PM

OhEssYouCowboys on October 30, 2013 at 4:15 PM

“New & Improved” version, not at all like version 1.0

Roy Rogers on October 30, 2013 at 4:19 PM

Analogize to auto insurance. Does auto insurance cover new tires, oil changes, periodic maintenance? Why should health insurance cover periodic maintenance?

Obamacare isn’t health insurance; it’s health welfare.

Also, the numbers gal isn’t even addressing he delayed effect Obamacare’s mandatory provisions will have on the huge group market.

BuckeyeSam on October 30, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Can we now say that progressives are vegetables?

Steve Z on October 30, 2013 at 4:20 PM

The Punk on his tax-funded trip to the game in Boston

He said that prices have gone down more than they expected.

“College age kids are getting complete policies for $50 a month, and older families for less than 100 a month”.

How come the devil doesn’t strike him?

Schadenfreude on October 30, 2013 at 4:20 PM

It would have worked if “better people were in charge.” The Democrats, by passing this monstrosity, had already determined that they knew “better” than the rest of us. They insisted that they were the experts who could get this done. And they told us that over and over and over and over and denigrated anyone who dared to peep up “no, I don’t think you can” (who turned out to be right).

So, then, if “better people” need to be in charge, the Democrats have, de facto, admitted that they are not those “better people

natasha333 on October 30, 2013 at 4:21 PM

“New & Improved” version, not at all like version 1.0

Roy Rogers on October 30, 2013 at 4:19 PM

I just hate it when our kind use the terms desired by their kind.

The Cucking Fommunists.

OhEssYouCowboys on October 30, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Since nobody seems to be hitting this point yet, the death spiral is already covered:

http://www.conservativeintel.com/2013/10/25/now-we-find-out-whats-in-it-obamacares-taxpayer-bailout-for-health-insurers/

The bailout is built right into Obamacare.

can_con on October 30, 2013 at 4:21 PM

I don’t get it. Kecthup isn’t a veggie. So it’s a fruit right ???

rik on October 30, 2013 at 4:21 PM

The Liar-in-Chief, speaking in Boston ……

“I’m frustrated and angry, and I’m going to make sure the website is up and operating ASAP.”

Wow, he’s mad and promises to fix his boondoggle. I can just hear him after thousands die when they can’t get the medical attention they needed.

” I’m frustrated and angry and I’m going to make sure, er, uh …..

Can’t fix that one Bozo. Can’t speechify your way out of that one.

fogw on October 30, 2013 at 4:22 PM

The socialists just need to make the death camps more efficient and “viola”!!

RSbrewer on October 30, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Healthcare.gov the “progressive equivalent of declaring ketchup a vegetable”

what did he mean by that? Ketchup ain’t a vegetable?

dammit**/

ted c on October 30, 2013 at 4:23 PM

it would have worked with better people in charge.


Oddly enough this argument is *constantly* used to explain away all the failings of socialism…

18-1 on October 30, 2013 at 4:23 PM

That has been Socialisms excuse every single time it has been tried and failed. Trust us, this time we will do it right.

Johnnyreb on October 30, 2013 at 4:06 PM

Don’t forget -

We just needed to kill a few millions more.

OhEssYouCowboys on October 30, 2013 at 4:24 PM

Expect to hear that argument a lot over the next several months as the creaky structure of ObamaCare collapses under its own weight — it would have worked with better people in charge.

then tie it around their necks with Obama’s own words c. 2007/2008

We are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For!!

ted c on October 30, 2013 at 4:25 PM

No it’s the progressive equivalent of declaring horsechit a filet mignon.

HumpBot Salvation on October 30, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Hitler: “Free train rides”

faraway on October 30, 2013 at 4:26 PM

…it would have worked with better people in charge.

This is the fallacious thinking of all Utopians.

It’s the thinking that was behind the creation of the New Left in the ’60s after Kruschev’s Secret Speech. They’d keep Marx without falling prey to Stalin’s atrocities. What happened? Violence by the Weatherman (Ayers) and riots across the nation.

Thomas Sowell interview:

Then there is Thomas Sowell, the economist and political philosopher. He prefers an older way of looking at American politics–a much older way. In his classic 1987 work, A Conflict of Visions, Sowell identifies two competing worldviews, or visions, that have underlain the Western political tradition for centuries.

Sowell calls one worldview the “constrained vision.” It sees human nature as flawed or fallen, seeking to make the best of the possibilities that exist within that constraint. The competing worldview, which Sowell terms the “unconstrained vision,” instead sees human nature as capable of continual improvement….

The American Revolution embodied the constrained vision. “In the United States,” Sowell says, “it was assumed from the outset that what you needed to do above all was minimize [the damage that could be done by] the flaws in human nature.” The founders did so by composing a constitution of checks and balances. More than two centuries later, their work remains in place.

The French Revolution, by contrast, embodied the unconstrained vision. “In France,” Sowell says, “the idea was that if you put the right people in charge–if you had a political Messiah–then problems would just go away.” The result? The Terror, Napoleon and so many decades of instability that France finally sorted itself out only when Charles de Gaulle declared the Fifth Republic.

INC on October 30, 2013 at 4:27 PM

Hitler: “Free train rides”

faraway on October 30, 2013 at 4:26 PM

Anna the trainas a gonna runna ona time.

OhEssYouCowboys on October 30, 2013 at 4:28 PM

Akzed on October 30, 2013 at 4:12 PM

And besides – ketchup actually IS vegetable based, so it isn’t unreasonable.

Heinz ketchup contains tomato concentrate made from red ripe tomatoes, distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, salt, spice, onion powder, and natural flavors. This ketchup is high in lycopene as well.

But so far, healthcare.gov has absolutely nothing to do with providing people with actual health care.

dentarthurdent on October 30, 2013 at 4:28 PM

Dims menu
Sh!t sandwich w/ side veggie ( Catsup)

rik on October 30, 2013 at 4:28 PM

Dims menu
Sh!t sandwich w/ side veggie ( Catsup)

rik on October 30, 2013 at 4:28 PM

Not catsup – arugula or peas….

dentarthurdent on October 30, 2013 at 4:31 PM

I thought the lunatic-left stopped promoting ketchup after Heinz got sold and Hanoi-John kerry’s wife no longer had a major interest in the company and it’s top product.

TeaPartyNation on October 30, 2013 at 4:32 PM

If Healthcare.coma were Terry Schiavo, Dems would have pulled the plug by now – no brain activity.

The system is down at the moment.

We are experiencing technical difficulties and hope to have them resolved soon. Please try again later.

In a hurry? You might be able to apply faster at our Marketplace call center. Call 1-800-318-2596 to talk with one of our trained representatives about applying over the phone.

faraway on October 30, 2013 at 4:35 PM

“This is, in a way, the progressive equivalent of declaring ketchup a vegetable…”

Assuming one took this “vegetable”, stuck it in a sack of manure, put it on the nation’s front porch, lit it on fire and then rang the doorbell.

….and then used a grenade launcher to decapitate anyone who ran out on the porch to stamp out the fire.

….and then dropped 500 lb napalm bombs on the house in order to ensure “greater choice” and “fairness for everyone”.

That might begin to possibly get within the far vicinity of just how horrible this steaming pile of progressive “legislation” really is.

But hey, there’s always an exemption to shoot for…

GrassMudHorsey on October 30, 2013 at 4:36 PM

it would have worked with better people in charge.

But I thought the ones we had been waiting for were elected in 2008?? Wasn’t this the whole point of Hope and Change? That we elect The Better People?

And does it not follow then, even in The Best Administration of Better People Ever, the Great Risk is that you may have appointed someone who turn out to be a 2nd stringer like Sebelius? Would The Better People rid us of the Lessers in order to retain Better People??

Well, I for one am p*ssed off because, apparently, The Ones don’t really believe in HopenChange any more than they believe in the Constitution since they continue with 2nd Stringers like Sebelius.

LetsBfrank on October 30, 2013 at 4:38 PM

Poll: Amid website glitches, views of ObamaCare remain steady.

Should read.

Poll: Amid website glitches, views of ObamaCare remain _______

Bmore on October 30, 2013 at 4:40 PM

What does “accepting dollars” mean..?

d1carter on October 30, 2013 at 4:40 PM

I read Jeffery Lord’s article about how this is the end of Liberalism, I wish I could be that sure.

I think the media is too liberal for anything to ever be the end of liberalism.

But it is a happy thought.

I just wish I could make myself believe it.

http://spectator.org/archives/2013/10/29/obamacare-and-the-death-of-lib

petunia on October 30, 2013 at 4:41 PM

It amazes me how “journalists” get fired for poor performance but they keep showing up to give us their opinions…what an industry!

d1carter on October 30, 2013 at 4:43 PM

Tomatos are fruits, not vegatables.

So. . . . . .

D-fusit on October 30, 2013 at 4:43 PM

This website/enrollment fiasco is just the tip of the iceberg. There is going to be a bureaucratic mess, security breaches, doctor shortages, explosion of future deficits & debt due to subsidies and medicaid.

Democrats will long for the days of just screwed up website.

tommer74 on October 30, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Healthcare.gov: One giant vegetable.

The Nerve on October 30, 2013 at 4:48 PM

With the high cost of insurance due to O’care, why build gas chambers?

If you can’t afford insurance and food, the mandate is on the insurance – you have to buy the insurance but food is now an option.

Fascists strike again.

Turtle317 on October 30, 2013 at 4:51 PM

Healthcare.gov: One giant vegetable.

The Nerve on October 30, 2013 at 4:48 PM

heh, Healthcare.coma in a vegetative state

faraway on October 30, 2013 at 4:53 PM

All well and good there Ed Morrissey but will any of that matter if the damn thing is never repealed?

bgibbs1000 on October 30, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Healthcare.gov: One giant vegetable.

The Nerve on October 30, 2013 at 4:48 PM

More particularly, a giant gourd – shoved up a much smaller, sunless orifice.

OhEssYouCowboys on October 30, 2013 at 5:03 PM

On the other hand, Ford then starts to make the argument that the issue isn’t policy overreach, but implies that the wrong people were put in place to accomplish that, to which Meacham objects.

Yeah like all typical socialists and communists… They always think that communism and socialism work if only the right people are in charge… From Lenin to Stalin to Mao to Castro to Pol Pot to Chavez, to the Western socialists and communists…

mnjg on October 30, 2013 at 5:10 PM

It is indeed “down the tubes,” but it will leave the skyrocketing premiums for consumers amid the rubble when it crashes.

Is that referring to “them twitter tubes” that these guys were supposed to be so great at?

ted c on October 30, 2013 at 5:14 PM

Carriers are NOT going to lower their premiums. Those days are over. Even if Obama was thrown out of office, this cannot be un-done. It is simply too late, and these companies have spent millions in compliance dollars.

Can they sue the gubmint? They can try, but they won’t get far.

/What a mess you’ve made mister OhBahMah. You suck.

Key West Reader on October 30, 2013 at 5:14 PM

How come the devil doesn’t strike him?

Schadenfreude on October 30, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Isn’t it God that strikes you down if you’re lying? Somehow, I get the idea that 0bama and the devil are on a first-name basis…

affenhauer on October 30, 2013 at 5:38 PM

No one died because ketchup was declared a vegetable.
No one died because a toilet seat cost $600.

Ronnie on October 30, 2013 at 6:58 PM

it would have worked with better people in charge

Just a variation on the usual it would have worked if we had spent enough money – the Left’s normal whine after their doomed programs actually fail.

Hucklebuck on October 30, 2013 at 7:05 PM

No one died because a toilet seat cost $600.

Ronnie on October 30, 2013 at 6:58 PM

In fact – just the opposite.
If anyone happened to be on the toilet when their plane crashed – that $600 seat may have literally saved their @ss….

dentarthurdent on October 30, 2013 at 7:57 PM

EVERYONE with an employer-provided plan will see their individual contributions, copays, coinsurance and maximum out-of-pocket costs increase substantially, if not exponentially.
We have gotten the bad news at my company; when others begin to see what their new costs are going to be, we will see further outcry.
We used to have two plans – a great one and a really great one. Now we have the three plans mandated by the ‘affordable’ care act, and the costs are unbelieveable. And, if you purchase the ‘richest’ plan, it is subject to additional taxes paid to, wait for it, the federal government.
Because of the ‘affordable’ care act, even those near retirement age are required to carry a plan which provides ‘free’ contraceptives and maternity care. Single men are also required to purchase a policy which provides these ‘free’ services.
This is a gigantic power and money grabbing scam and obama had it designed that way.
We are soooooo screwed.

maryo on October 30, 2013 at 10:19 PM