Anatomy of a Column
eggy Noonan opened a bleary eye onto a new, cold, crisp New York day, with a dull throb in the back of her head. Instinctively her small, bird-like hand de-clutched the pearls given to her by Ronald Wilson Reagan, the greatest president of the last half of the last century, perhaps the greatest president ever, and reached on the Louis XV bedside stand for her First Aid Kit (the amusing name she gave her Christofle silver flask), only to discover—oh, horrors!—that it was empty.
“Half my kingdom for a horse,” she muttered to herself, “or at least an eye-opener.” She stumbled into the kitchen of the Aviary 2, the name she gave her new penthouse, so grand, so chic, and assembled her pitcher of breakfast (complete with a fresh wedge of pineapple, so juicy, so sweet), and the soothing relief it brought. “The good Captain never lets me down,” she nodded approvingly at her self-medication, a cup that indeed runneth-over onto the counter and momentarily on the floor. “Consuela will mop that up,” Noonan thought as relief dulled the throb in the back of her head.
Noonan thanked God for the miracle of modern science and that she did not have to go to the Park Avenue doctor for her remarkable headache, now that Obamacare was the rule of the land. “I’m not even sure if I’m insured any longer,” she thought. She considered the need for insurance, as healthcare is important to all of the rapidly aging Pundits in her cocktail circuit. “Well, I’m sure that Rupert has me covered,” she sniffed. “But what about others?,” the little people out in the heartland, which she was certain that existed on the other side of a bridge or tunnel somewhere. She had read about middle America once.
“People have seen their prices go up, their choices narrow. They have lost coverage. They have lost the comfort of keeping the doctor who knows them and knows they tend to downplay problems and not complain of pain, and so doing more tests might be in order, or tend to be hypochondriacal and probably don’t need an echocardiogram, or at least not a third one this year.”
Noonan took a thoughtful sip of her breakfast, and continued musing.
“Everyone understands in their own rough way that ObamaCare is a big mess. And that it’s not the website, it’s the law itself. They have seen systems crash. In the past 20 years they’ve seen their own computers crash. “
Noonan looked at her garage door opener as if for confirmation. She never got it to make a phone call, or listen to her music or her collection of Reagan speeches.
“They understand this new program was so big and complex and had so many moving parts and was built on so many assumptions that may or may not hold true, and that deals with so many people with so many policies—and they know they themselves have not read their own policies, for who would when the policies, like the law that now controls the policies, are written in a way that is deliberately obscure so as to give maximum flexibility to administrators in offices far away. And that’s just your policy. What about 200 million other policies? The government can’t handle that. The government can barely put up road signs.”
Noonan thought back fondly on her old insurance policies from years gone by, and the many hours she amused herself reading the small print, as she finished her breakfast. “So clear, so well-stated,” she smacked her lips as she slid off the kitchen barstool and made peace with the floor.