Political motivation skews reactions . . .

Double Standard on Glitches Persists

by Conrad Weisert
©2013 Information Disciplines, Inc., Chicago
October 27, 2013

NOTE: This document may be circulated or quoted from freely, as long as the copyright notice is included.

That was then

Some time ago we noted surprisingly tolerant reactions to major fiascos in deploying new or heavily modified on-line applications. We cited three examples that had caused serious damage to their sponsoring organizations1 and to millions who tried to use those systems.

What surprised us in each of those cases was that the general public and the press were tolerant of those problems and willing to blame them on unmanageable technical complexity. We heard no calls for the offending organizations to be put out of business or for the total abandonment of the faulty systems.

and this is now

Everyone is aware of the start-up problems in the computer applications supporting America's Affordable Care Act. In contrast to the fiascos cited above, we're hearing partisan condemnations, not just of the underlying computer systems but also of the health-care system itself. These "glitches" clearly demonstrate, we're told, that a universal health-care program for Americans is impractical or at least premature.

This morning Meet the Press host David Gregory kept asking Ohio Governor Kasich how the system start-up problems were affecting his state. The Governor ignored the question, and just kept repeating foolish rants about the harm that the Affordable Care Act would bring to citizens and to businesses in Ohio even if the support system were working smoothly.

What's the difference?

Crews of technicians are frantically working to clear the logjam, and presumably they will succeed sooner or later. They would have been wiser to have launched a staged or phased implementation (by state or by portion of the alphabet) in order to avoid the massive sudden volume. Maybe next time.

Meanwhile, those who oppose the Affordable Care Act or similar universal health-care plans should direct their criticisms and suggestions to the provisions of the act itself rather than to temporary flaws in its mechanical support. Doesn't the United States government deserve as much patience as American Airlines or the Chicago Tribune?

Another view

I understand the point you are making. However, I don't condone this magnitude of start up problems in either corporations or government.

I agree that Affordable Health Care opponents used the Web Site to again express their hostility to President Obama.

I think that the government needs to be particularly careful with new system because of their large exposure to criticism.

—Ray Dash, Wilmette, Illinois

1—American Airlines, the Chicago Tribune, and Blackberry.

Last updated October 27, 2013

Return to Management articles
IDI Home Page