June 24, 2019

The Obamacare Kluge

“You didn’t build that”

Well, now we know he didn’t build it either!

The most significant thing about that remark when Obama made it was not its ignorance, nor its political posturing, but its disrespect.  Libs have no respect for the achievements of other people.  They cruise at 70,000 feet.  They think things come into existence by fiat. 

“Let’s have insurance.” 

“What’s for lunch?”

One thing that Marx and Marxists have never understood is that behind every business is passion.  The grocer has a passion for grocery selling.  One reason we know this is because if he doesn’t have that passion, he isn’t in the business of selling groceries. He will have been pushed out of business by the other guy who stacks his fruit and/or sweeps his floors and/or offers better quality goods or lower prices. 

That is the creation of value.  Politicians don’t understand this because politics is basically a scam – the longest floating crap game in history.  All politicians promise things they either cannot do, or have no intention of doing.  The only reason politics lasts is that it is a monopoly — someone must fill those positions. 

What politicians can do is to skim the cream off society.  Socialism results in roughly 10% of the population living off the other 90%.  That was the ratio of Communist Party members in the Soviet Union to non-members.  It is a rough rule of thumb that works for Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Communist China and so forth.

Because any economy is built on the discovery of information as Hayek put it and on the subjectivity of value as the late-19th century economists Jevons, Walras and Menger determined, a centrally-planned economy slowly winds down because the central planners have no incentive to discover new information as it upsets both their sloth and their power, and the value preferences of the public are not expressed because decisions are made by the top 10%.  We have actually been warned of the path we are on now by Putin and he should know.

The Obamacare Website will be fixed at some point.  Anybody familiar with writing software suspects that the most efficient solution will be to junk the current system and start over unless the documentation on what has been done so far is enormously greater than we have any reason to expect.  You don’t bring in a team from Google or Amazon or Priceline or any of the myriad names we all know to plow through the current rat’s nest of coding.  You bring them in to block out the functions and write code to that architecture.

Look at what we were told about Obamacare.

There would be Exchanges.  I never knew what these were going to be, but I assumed that these were some of those “shovel-ready jobs” that have not appeared over the last five years.  I assumed that we were going to see the construction of 50 Greek Revival temples with peaked roofs and big columns in front with men in colored jackets running back and forth inside with pieces of paper in their hands, shouting at each other.  And that somehow one would go through some portal in one of those buildings and come out insured.

When we finally got down to cases, it turned out that Exchanges were…a website!  The “exchanging” going on in Exchanges was people exchanging their money for goods.  Hmmmmm…..haven’t we been doing that since Abraham was strolling through the streets of Ur of the Chaldees?  Or before?  So, just to reboot, what the guvmint meant by “setting up insurance Exchanges in each state” was “having a website to buy insurance.”

Oh.  OK.  And since it was online, we are going to be able to compare features and prices.

Oh.  Sort of like Expedia, or Priceline.

But, the Obamacare Exchanges, now the Obamacare Website, was not an ordinary website.  It is going to interact with…DATABASES. 


You mean, like Oracle, or SQL Server, or DB2.  One hopes that the designers of the Obamacare Website are aware that Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, is one of the richest men in the world because the Oracle database is one of the most widely used pieces of software in the world.

Let’s just review.  The Obamacare Exchanges are a website that accesses databases and supports transactions.

But obviously, we still aren’t with the program.  Because users aren’t just purchasing health insurance, they have to qualify to purchase a specific policy.  So, that explains it.  Cutting edge.  Where no man has gone before.

But…wait.  Are we talking about a MyAccount page?  Like iTunes?  Or Amazon?

The Obamacare MyAccount page is a bit longer than the Amazon one because Obamacare wants to know the sexual orientation of your last five sex partners; whether you are a Republican or Democrat (trust me, if they are not asking it now, they will soon), whether you take the skin off chicken, and if you use sun block.  So, there are more forms to fill in.  Myself, I’m assuming that after I do this once, Chrome Autofill will handle it from there on. 

Now, about these Navigators.  Has anybody else read Frank Herbert’s superb sci fi novel Dune?  The Navigators there are mutants who can fold space and power spaceships across the galaxy.  I assume the idea is the same here, except that what they are powering will be the political orientation of Obamacare Website users.

How is that going to work?  Do you ask for a Navigator?  Or does one come unbidden?  I think there are some of us who are going to be uncomfortable to hear the doorbell wring and find Richard Trumka standing outside.  I myself plan to have a few Democratic Party cards printed up and kept in a bowl next to the Halloween candy for emergencies.

The architects of Obamacare seem to be unaware of something called Customer Service. Since the dawn of the digital revolution a generation ago, products have been designed to be self-explanatory.  Instruction manuals are the butts of jokes.  Do you need a Navigator for Google, which puts the learning of the world at your fingertips?  Do you need a Navigator to download Crosby Stills and Nash from iTunes (I know, my age is showing)? 

No.  For two reasons.  On sites like Amazon and iTunes to name just two, calling Customer Service is like getting therapy.  The nicest people answer any time day or night and will stay with you until your problem is solved.  My only disappointment is that the Amazon person asks at the end “Is there anything else I can help you with?” and I respond with “What is the meaning of life?” She says, “Greg, (my name is on the screen in front of her) Jeff has a team on that, but we don’t have the answer yet.”

And I am sure my experience is mirrored by approximately 1 billion people to date.  So far, Amazon has not sent any Navigators to my front door.  I am not quite sure why Obamacare needs to send them unless it is to get that signature on the Democratic Party roster and to be told when I am going to be picked up to go to vote in the next election. 

Also, if by chance there is not a Customer Service department for my problem, then I go on Google, put my query into the Search Bar and…I get several responses that answer my question.  Having a Navigator come out to the house has a John Henry competing with the steam hammer feel to it.

So what do we have here?  A kluge (soft “g” for those of you not familiar with the term), which means a hopelessly mal-designed piece of technology.

But the reason we have this kluge is the salient point.  We have it because the people in charge of this project are disrespectful of both the achievement of producers and the autonomy of customers.  They want to be in control and are indifferent to the actual operation of the system.

And…just wait until some Lois Lerner is in charge of your health care rather than your insurance, and is there to check your Obamacare page to see if you are worthy when you show up at the ER with a sick child in your arms.

That is what 1776 was about in the first place.

American Thinker