The Campaign Spot

What Can Obama Say Today Besides, ‘We Failed’?

Continuing the effort for three consecutive all-conservative, no-RINO editions of the Morning Jolt. . . 

What Can Obama Say Today, Besides, ‘My Administration Failed on an Epic Scale?’

As One Republic sang, “It’s Too Late to Apologize.” And the president probably won’t do that, anyway:

President Barack Obama will declare the glitches in a new healthcare website “unacceptable” on Monday and outline ways for consumers to sign up for insurance while his team scrambles to fix problems that have tainted the rollout of his signature healthcare law.

Fresh from two weeks of budget battles that have consumed Washington, Obama will hold an event at 11:25 a.m. in the White House Rose Garden with consumers, small business owners, and pharmacists who have been affected by the new law.

Place your bets on whether the president will acknowledge that back on October 1, he was among those who said the problems with the web site were minor and routine:

Now, like every new law, every new product rollout, there are going to be some glitches in the signup process along the way that we will fix…  For example, we found out that there have been times this morning where the site has been running more slowly than it normally will… We’re going to be speeding things up in the next few hours to handle all this demand that exceeds anything that we had expected. 

Consider that just a couple of weeks ago, Apple rolled out a new mobile operating system.  And within days, they found a glitch, so they fixed it.  I don’t remember anybody suggesting Apple should stop selling iPhones or iPads — or threatening to shut down the company if they didn’t. 

If an Apple product is still crap weeks after it debuts, nobody buys it and they stop making it.

So what are we to make of this comment from Kathleen Sebelius, offered to the Wall Street Journal in an article appearing this weekend?

After two weeks of review, the HHS secretary concluded, “We didn’t have enough testing, specifically for high volumes, for a very complicated project.”

The online insurance marketplace needed five years of construction and a year of testing, she said: “We had two years and almost no testing.”

She thinks she’s offering the excuse that she was given an extremely difficult and complicated task and given one-third the necessary time to do it. But that isn’t as exculpatory as she thinks, as it means either A) she and her team misjudged the time needed by FOUR YEARS B) someone within the team knew it would take four years, and was ignored or C) she knew it would take four years all along, and was overruled by her boss, the president.

There’s no “innocent mistake” option here. This was either epic incompetence (meaning both the Democratic Congress that passed this bill and the administration that promised to implement it simply couldn’t understand how much time it would take to set up the system) or epic dishonesty (making promises they knew they couldn’t keep, but felt were necessary to ensure the political health of the administration).

On Sunday, the Department of Health and Human Services bragged, there have been “over 19 million unique visits to date to HealthCare.gov.” (Mind you, that’s just visiting the web site, not actually filling out any forms.) Way to go, Secretary Sebelius, that’s almost as much as the 21 million hits Drudge gets in a day. In a two-week span, Drudge gets about, say, 450 million hits.

HHS continues: “In that time, nearly half a million applications for coverage have been submitted from across the nation.”

So 19 million hits turned into nearly 500,000 applications… about 2.6 percent of all hits turn into an application?

Note that over at EnrollMaven.com, they keep their eye on the prize, actual plan enrollment (which usually begins after the purchaser has sent the first check to pay for it). It doesn’t measure “web hits, user registrations, applications started, applications completed or any other pre-enrollment parameter, does not include enrollments in jurisdictions which have not yet reported enrollment statistics (except confirmed registrations in states on the federal exchange) and does not count new Medicaid enrollees.”

This morning they put the number of confirmed enrollees at… 19,790. Something in the neighborhood of the attendance of the average NBA or NHL game.

NR cruiser Bruce Webster, professional analyst of big organizations and how they tackle complicated projects, writes in again:

When I saw this

The Obama administration Sunday said it’s called on “the best and brightest” tech experts from both government and the private sector to help fix the troubled website at the root of the Obamacare enrollment problems.

…I immediately thought of this:

“Adding manpower to a late project makes it later.” — Brooks’s Law (first coined in The Mythical Man-Month by Frederick P. Brooks, Jr., back in 1975…

The two basic ideas behind Brooks’s Law are (1) the new people have to come up to speed on the project, and (2) you’ve just added an exponential number of new possible communication channels — from (N^(2)-N)/2 to ((N+M)^(2)-(N+M)/2, where ‘M’ is the number of new people added.

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