The Corner

The one and only.

Sherlock Holmes Meets Occam’s Razor


“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth,” said Sherlock Holmes. The recent three-day intellectual demolition of Obamacare at the Supreme Court exposed to even the most obtuse lefty the flimsy constitutional underpinnings of the so-called “health care” law. The Patient Deflection and Unaffordable Care Act is now well on its way to zombie status, still staggering around in the form of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, knocking things off shelves and making growling sounds in the direction of religious folk, just waiting for the head shot from the Roberts Court to put it out of its misery.

As has become plainer every day, the “health care” bill was never about health care. In fact, it has nothing to do with health care or insurance at all. It simply uses one of the Left’s favorite “humanitarian” bludgeons, medical care and an invented fear of its absence, in order to persuade the gullible to forgo an important constitutional principle in exchange for wholly bogus, state-run “compassion.” As some idiot wrote in these pages nearly three years ago:

You see, for us on the left, there is absolutely nothing more important than health care. Having long since cast off the shackles of the superstition known as “organized religion,” we need something to believe in, and health care is our principal article of faith. For us, it simply will not do to live in a world that is nasty, brutish, and short; why, I personally know people who visit their doctors at least once a month, and not just for plastic surgery, either. The slightest sniffle sends them sprinting to Doc Feiertag because, after all, it might be swine flu. A little heartburn might be a heart attack. And on this filthy, polluted planet, cancer is always ready to strike, no matter how green you are. Everybody knows that when it comes to your health, you can’t be too careful, and that if you’ve got your health you’ve got everything except a three-picture deal at Fox Atomic.

Luckily, over the past 60 years or so, we’ve managed to convince the once sturdy and stoic American people that illness is not to be borne “manfully” or uncomplainingly, and that constantly worrying, 24/7, about your health is not a sign of hypochondria or outright insanity. Why, to hear us tell it via our stooges in the media and out here in Hollywoodland, the entire country is perpetually on the brink of a financially ruinous physical meltdown, just a pack of cigarettes, a pre-existing condition, a bag of Cheez Doodles, and a closed emergency room away from debilitation, despair, dementia, and death.

Because we’re not kidding about that “got everything” part. We understand that if government can control each aspect of the human life cycle, from insemination to gestation to a woman’s right to choose to final destination (whichever comes first), it’s game, set, and match for the antiquated notions of “individual liberties.” 

So back we go to the question I posed the other day: why “health care” and why now? The shrieking desperation on the Left — as the “reality based community” finally ran up against real reality in Washington — is an indication that there’s something far more important at stake here than “health care.” This was their time, this was their moment, and now, as Peggy Noonan notes, it’s all slipping away. Why, it’s enough to remind one of this Star Trek episode, which after all was for the children, too.

#more#As the Gormogons point out, we have two choices when confronting the wreck of Obamacare: Either the bill was drafted by incompetent idiots or they knew exactly what they were doing:

Does Obamacare lower the costs of health insurance for all Americans? We know the answer is no, and this comes from the CBO. We also know that insurance costs have jumped up since passage. Strike this one.

Does Obamacare provide increased access to healthcare? No.

Does Obamacare provide insurance coverage to more Americans? Again, no: the number of options actually dwindles under Obamacare, and buy-in costs are much higher than if free markets were allowed to pursue competitive options.

Does Obamacare reform Medicaid? No, it makes Medicaid worse by dumping millions of previously disallowed participants, while also pulling a half-billion dollars out of it.

Does Obamacare provide better healthcare to participants? No, again. In fact, evidence of rationing and regulated control of treatments ensures that participants will have fewer health options.

So what does Obamacare achieve…? The only logical extension of the question “what did its authors intend” is that Obamacare is nothing less than a massive liberal/leftist attempt to give out free stuff that their special interests want.

That’s one possible explanation — but what a cumbersome way to buy votes. Tammany Hall could have done it much better, and simpler. But then the Tammany sachems weren’t creatures of an inimical ideology whose expressed purpose is “fundamental transformation.”

Better to back all the way up to Occam’s Razor, that the simplest explanation is the one most likely to be true. And when you have eliminated the impossible. . . Well, at this point, even Chris Matthews can figure it out.   


Sign up for free NR e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review