How Big Data Is Destroying The U.S. Healthcare System

Robert X. Cringely | I, Cringely | October 26, 2013

One thing I find ironic in the current controversy over problems with the insurance sign-up web site is that the people complaining don’t really mean what they are saying. Not only do they have have little to no context for their arguments, they don’t even want the improvements they are demanding. This is not to say nothing is wrong with the site, but few big web projects have perfectly smooth launches. From all the bitching and moaning in the press you’d think this experience is a rarity. But as those who regularly read this column know, more than half of big IT projects don’t work at all. So I’m not surprised that there’s another month of work to be done to meet a deadline 5.5 months in the future.

Yes, the Obama Administration was overly optimistic and didn’t provide enough oversight. Yes, they demanded fundamental changes long after the system design should have been frozen. But a year from now these issues will have been forgotten.

The most important lesson here for government, I’d say, is to be more humble. At the heart of the federal problems you’ll find arrogance. California and Kentucky, after all, are  offering identical services that are reportedly going well: why didn’t the Feds learn from them? I’d guess it’s because they felt they had nothing to learn from the provinces.