Home > Central Planning, Fiscal Policy, Obamacare > The Insurance Exchange Fiasco

The Insurance Exchange Fiasco

Blogs are in part for fun and maybe even for self-indulgence. I have decided to indulge myself a bit by imagining what it would have been like if the famous Google search page came online in the same way that the insurance exchanges started. It might have gone like this.

The search page goes live and it is immediately overwhelmed by internet web traffic so that almost nobody is able to successfully complete a search for information using the page. Later in the day, Google’s senior management holds a press conference where they say the following. “Today our new search engine went live on the web and it was a complete success. The site was overwhelmed by web traffic so that almost nobody was able to search for information. This shows how valuable and important our search technology is to the public.”

This is effectively what Barack Obama and other members of his administration did when describing the performance of the medical insurance web site. The designers of the site completely failed to anticipate how much web traffic capacity was required for people to properly use the site. They then tried to describe this failure as a sign of success. Only in government would incompetence be described as competence. I suspected that there were going to be problems with the exchanges when I heard a report that the CTO for Health and Human Services left HHS to take another job. Yes he could have left because a good opportunity came along but he also may have been bailing out because he saw a disaster emerging.

The President likes to talk about “smart” government. Are the exchanges an example of this? Actually, my guess is that the medical exchanges will ultimately provide evidence of the continuing incompetence of government (Will your information really be secure on these web sites?) and that the managers of government, politicians, cannot effectively manage the organizations that they claim to supervise.

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Economics One

A blog by John B. Taylor

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One economist's views on economic policy.

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