The Wave Breaks


Kathleen Sebelius’ tardy and reluctant, oh so reluctant, release of the numbers of consumers who have affiliated themselves with Obamacare offered few surprises. For several days, the administration had been leaking estimates (which it then disavowed in public), in an attempt to remove the element of surprise — nay, shock — from the announcement of how few customers have shown up.

The administration now claims that 106,000 of these people have appeared, 27,000 on its own website and the rest through mechanisms set up by the states. The total is said to be one-fifth of those anticipated by the administration, which in early October had celebrated the alleged materialization of “millions” of eager Obamaites.

California, which has its own signup procedure, managed to get 35,000 people enrolled. Meanwhile, one million insurance policies were canceled in the state. Nationwide, over five million policies have been canceled — 50 times more than the 100,000+ customers reported by Secretary Sebelius.

And of course, the administration’s figures are far from wholly truthful. They include in the category of “signups” everyone who has merely “selected a plan,” whether the plan has been purchased or not. Even “Greg Sargent’s take from a liberal perspective” in the Washington Post warned the White House against obscuring the real numbers in this way, but the White House never resists a temptation.

Nevertheless, Sebelius actually had the nerve to say about the ridiculously small success of the program she administers, “The promise of quality, affordable coverage is increasingly becoming reality in this first wave of applicants. We expect enrollment will grow substantially throughout the next five months.”

King Canute amused the world by stationing himself on the seashore and demanding that the waves retreat. Kathleen Sebelius, the servant of King Obama, now stations herself on the shores of the Potomac and commands a “wave” of helpless people to struggle toward her waiting arms. It is a peculiarly repulsive spectacle.

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R.R. Schoettker

This is my prediction; that totally unlike Canute, when the tide rises over Sibelius (and Obama's)feet they will not repent of their arrogance but will compound it and call on their domestic standing army minions to destroy the tide of "helpless people" laid waste by their hubris.

Robert K Stock

I have filled out an application at the misnamed "Marketplace". But for several weeks now each time I click on the enroll button nothing happens.

I qualify for a premium tax credit of $337 a month and my share of the monthly premium will be $11.16 when the website finally allows me to enroll.

I do not feel bad about hard working taxpayers ponying up $337 each month in my name. Hopefully, the Affordable Care Act will be the straw that breaks the US economy's back.

I think the US government is beyond reformation. Getting the government to fall due to economic stupidity is preferable to throwing bombs. My hope is the Affordable Care Act will bring about the non-violent destruction of the US. With several independent countries rising from the metaphorical ashes.

Jon Harrison

A fascinating comment. Would enjoy reading a full essay on the same topic.

Incredible to me that you qualify for something like a 98% subsidy under Obamacare. You must be the poorest libertarian in America (assuming you are a libertarian).


I don't think that persons eager to see the destruction of the economy and to thrust their snouts in the trough while they still can are "libertarians." I also don't think that writers who endorse compelling insurers to "insure" pre-existing conditions are "libertarians."

Robert K Stock

David: I think the US government is beyond reformation by the ballot box so I am advocating revolution by economic means instead of guns. I am advocating not just the destruction of the US economy, but the destruction of the US government.

I would like to see a hastening of the day when the US Treasury will not have the cash to send out the checks. Only once this happens will the people of the US realize that the social programs, safety nets, and corporate subsidies have been a mistake.

My strategy for revolution is to increase the number of snouts in the trough so that the trough explodes.

Only after the present US government has been swept away like the old Soviet Union, can new independent countries emerge from the rotted US carcass. Hopefully some of these will practice Austrian Economics, Objectivist Ethics and Jeffersonian limited government.

Jon Harrison

Boy, if that reply doesn't make David feel better, nothing will.

Jon Harrison

That's fine with me; you're entitled to your opinion. Of course, I really couldn't care less whether I meet your definition of libertarian or not. Last I heard, we are all still free to call ourselves whatever we like. I even think it's legal for me to define libertarian as I chose, just as you can.

Certainly, I'm more concerned about sick people than I am about insurance companies. Oh, I forget, insurance companies "are people too." Oh well.

Robert K Stock

I prefer to call myself a Classical Liberal, but yes I am a libertarian. I remember the Presidential campaing of John Hospers in 1972, but paid no attention to libertarian ideas until I saw Andre Marrou on CSPAN in 1992. I joined the LP in 1992 and began my subscription to Liberty in 1993.

Last year I made $16,000. I work 34 hours a week at $9.00 an hour as a hotel Night Auditor. I have had higher paying jobs as a hotel General Manager, but I am now purposely keeping myself poor to avoid stress. All I need is enough money to keep a roof over my head and books in my hand.

Jon Harrison

Thank you for replying. "All I need is enough money to keep a roof over my head and books in my hand." If there were more people like you in the world, it'd probably be a better world.


I have yet to hear the most horrifying statistic articulated, and one that is quite likely: that most of those "signing up" are the ones who will be getting it for free.

Is my thinking wrong?

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