It was supposed to be the most burning crisis in America: the 30 million, 40 million, or even 50 million of us, (depending on which politician was screaming the loudest), who didn't have health insurance and were clamoring to get it in order to avoid everything from bankruptcy to death.
So the Obama administration and the Democrats in Congress, gave us the Affordable Care Act . And they did it with such urgency that they didn't care that not a single Republican in Congress voted for it, and they didn't care that it took legislative chicanery to pass it despite the Democrat super-majority. Nope, the millions of uncovered Americans desperate for affordable health insurance just couldn't wait any longer.
(Read more: House GOP: How many have paid for Obamacare? )
So when the Obamacare exchanges finally opened for business in October, of course the tens of millions of insurance-starved Americans stampeded over each other to sign up and finally get covered.
Except they didn't.
The reality has been shocking even to the biggest Obamacare detractors. A McKinsey Report estimates that just 10 percent of the roughly 4 million enrollees in the ACA are people that did not previously have health insurance. Just 1 in 10!
Those 40 million to 50 million Americans just clamoring for health coverage that the Democrats have been telling us about since the 1940s have turned into just about 400,000 people who have bothered to sign up so far. And how much do you want to bet that those 400,000 will end up making up the lion's share of the up to 900,000 enrollees who have failed to actually pay for their new coverage?
(Read more: Who are these people? Insurers scope out new enrollees )
The experts have come up with several good explanations for the lack of interest among the uninsured. They point to the expensive premium and deductible prices, confusing rules, and of course the failed Healthcare.gov website launch.
But here's something no one seems to be addressing, and it's truly the elephant in the room when it comes to people who refuse to get covered now, refused to get covered before Obamacare, and will continue not to get covered forever: You can't fix stupid.
We spend a lot of tax money in this country trying to stamp out stupid with varying degrees of success. But no matter how much we spend and how hard we try, millions of Americans will still smoke, drink to excess, drink and drive, eat unhealthy food, and refuse to be responsible enough to tend to their health and health coverage. And there isn't any website, commercial, or funny viral video on Earth that will change their minds.
So we should stop trying so hard.
The universal individual mandate has always been the weakest operational and theoretical aspect of the ACA, so much so that Chief Justice John Roberts had to come up with the crazy idea of reclassifying the entire thing as a tax just to keep it alive. It's a ruling most Americans and Roberts himself will regret for decades to come.
Our Constitutionally guaranteed freedom in this country isn't just a slogan. It means the freedom to succeed and the freedom to fail. The freedom to be smart, and the freedom to be stupid. And just because you can't fix stupid, it doesn't mean we should try to fix or amend freedom.
Unfortunately, that's just what Obamacare does by taking money from the responsible portion of society in an attempt to force feed responsibility to another. That's the thing about responsibility: It can't be imposed or transferred from one to another.
President Obama has unilaterally changed the rules of the ACA several times in the past 12 months. There will be more changes to come, including a possible long delay or outright abolition of the entire individual mandate. When - and if - that happens, don't pay attention to all the inevitable excuses that will address everything from blaming bad websites to anti-tea party conspiracy theories.
The real reason will be that the government can't fix stupid without killing freedom. And, as far to the left as America has drifted lately, we haven't quite gone off the deep end.
- By Jake Novak
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