From Andy McCarthy on the Corner in the National Review this morning:
Compared to the infinite complexity of health care and health insurance, cash for clunkers is kindergarten stuff. You trade in your old car for a new one that gets (slightly) better mileage and the government gives you money — between $3,500 and $4,500. How hard is that?
Apparently it’s quite hard. According to an article in the Washington Times, the Transportation Department is billions of dollars behind in paying “cash-for-clunkers” rebates and has had to hire private contractors, solicit volunteers from the Federal Aviation Administration and recruit from its own executive ranks to work overtime to clear the backlog.
The U.S. Transportation Department, billions of dollars behind in paying “cash-for-clunkers” rebates, has hired private contractors and solicited volunteers from the Federal Aviation Administration and its own executive ranks to work overtime to clear the backlog.
Employees of the FAA’s air-traffic-control unit were asked to help, but the Transportation Department stressed Friday that essential safety personnel were not diverted from their duties.
A total of 1,200 workers, including about 300 contractors from Citigroup, the financial services giant, are now working seven days a week to review applications and reimburse auto dealers for rebates advanced to customers, officials said.
The department tripled its program staff to 1,100 last week, and recently added another 100 headquarters employees.
As of last Thursday, the “cash-for-clunkers” program had recorded some 457,000 transactions worth $1.9 billion in rebates.
If the government can’t handle a dinky little $2 billion dollar program with less than half a million customers, how do they expect to handle a $1.5 trillion dollar health care system with 300,000,000 customers?
A couple of weeks ago, Obama held what was termed by the administration as a “Health Insurance Reform Town Hall” meeting in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It wasn’t much of a town hall meeting in that the president spoke for about 95% of the time lecturing. An interesting point in Obama’s town hall meeting was his mixed and opposable stances on medicare.
“Our deficit will continue to grow because Medicare and Medicaid are on an unsustainable path.”
“And so I do think it’s important for particularly seniors who currently receive Medicare to understand that if we’re able to get something right like Medicare…”
“…Systems like Medicare are very inefficient right now…”
Ironically, this may be the first time a politician has take three separate positions on the same subject in a single speech. Usually they wait a few weeks before switching sides.
If medicare is both unsustainable and inefficient, maybe Obama and Congress could tackle that program first. Once they get medicare on an efficient and fiscally sustainable path, then we can discuss government-run universal health care for the rest of the country.