Now that the “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” lie has been thoroughly exposed, ObamaCare defenders have taken to arguing that what replaces the millions of cancelled plans will be much better for people than what they chose before. Essentially, this argument presumes that a centrally-planned, one-size-fits-all insurance profile works better for Americans than their own choices for coverage in the marketplace. Charles Krauthammer deconstructs the arrogance of this argument and explains why it fails every time it’s tried (via RCP):
It’s precisely why historically centrally-planned economies don’t work. The Soviets had a plan for this much steel and this much concrete and it had no response to what was out there in the market and they overproduced. So, they had a lot of production numbers and they had an economy that was unworkable. Here these people are deciding if you’re a single male in your 60s, you don’t need the maternal care, you don’t — you’ve never smoked dope, you don’t need the substance abuse stuff. You want a catastrophic plan which is very rational, but Jay Carney is saying, you know, ‘you’re too stupid to understand what you want.’ Once you eliminate the market response, which is a lot of people decide I know what I want better than the bureaucrat and they’re eliminating this. That’s the essence of what’s happening and that’s why it’s not going to work.
That comes straight out of F. A. Hayek and The Road to Serfdom. Markets work best at allocating resources (when properly and objectively regulated to prevent fraud and theft) because the people making use of those assets have to do so in a cooperative/competitive environment. That creates millions of decision points which require the expertise and interests of those in the market, and which a central-planning bureau cannot master, in real time or otherwise. Specific demand creates innovation in supply, so that those who need maternity care will favor the suppliers who provide it, while those who don’t will favor those suppliers who offer less expensive plans, and so on.
The core conceit of central planners is that the participants in the marketplace are too stupid to act in their own interest, as Krauthammer correctly translates the White House response. That’s more than a little ironic, too, coming from the central-planning administration that couldn’t even manage to launch a web portal correctly.