HEALTHCARE 404: Obama and the Apple Analogy

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At midnight on October 1st, Healthcare.gov opened to registration. Shortly thereafter the site was marred by crashes, glitches and information not saving, all leading to complaints via social media and even cable news.

Barack Obama gave a Rose Garden statement yesterday, the day Obamacare (or the Affordable Care Act) began accepting exchanges online. In a laughable analogy that sums up what Barack Obama believes about the driving engines of the US Economy and business, he compared Apple products to IRS enforced and mandated online healthcare coverage and the accompanying “glitches”.

This was an interesting analogy as just last week, IOS – 7 was released to millions of people in the country and there was nearly no glitches to speak of. iPhone users experienced download delays and became design critics but by his own standards and saying as much, the Healthcare.gov glitches should all be worked out in a couple days.

I won’t be holding my breath.

This is a President whose very legacy survives on the short term memory of the people that voted for him and one that is shaky at bestThere is a universe of differences between how Barack Obama rolls out a product that affects the lives of millions of people and how Steve Jobs did it. Jobs unveiled a product when he was absolutely sure it was perfect. Obama unveils a product because he’s President and he won.

Als-Steve-Jobs-2007-der-staunenden-Welt-das-iPhone-vorstellte-meinte-er-voller-Stolz-Apple-hat-das-Telefon-neu-erfundenIs there a serious person that actually thinks Steve Jobs would not have user tested his product before unveiling it, especially with a 3 year head start. Is there a serious person that thinks Steve Jobs would take to the stage in a black turtle neck in front of customers, workers and investors and unveil a product that was not ready? Would Steve Jobs put the reputation of thousands of Apple developers on the line with an excuse like “Well see the reason it doesn’t work is because so many people are buying the iPhone right now?”

No.

But that’s who Barack Obama is, grandstanding and comparing his healthcare website to exactly those things. Implement, release and publicize. Nevermind if it works. Nevermind if it’s good for people, it’s easy to understand or if people even want it.?

It’s the law.

Steve Jobs couldn’t roll out a defective product that didn’t work because he knew if he did his company stood to lose millions of dollars. Barack Obama can roll out a nonfunctional website because he knows by the power of IRS mandate that we don’t have a choice. It’s basically the living code of the Federal Government. – “We’re shitty because we can be. “

This past Monday, as a Government Shutdown loomed, Obama stood at a podium in front of an eager panting press core and couldn’t recite two lines of his speech about his signature legislation without referring to his notes and stumbling. It wasn’t the first time. When Steve Jobs gave a presentation unveiling a new product, he didn’t line up a bunch of hipster software engineers behind him. He didn’t prop himself up with people that his PR department found that really loved him personally. He stood alone with his product and he talked about it without the aide of a teleprompter or notes. He knew the product inside out. He knew what to showcase. He knew what people wanted.?He was able to clearly articulate why someone needed an iPhone. Obama can articulate the benefits of Healthcare.gov about as well as a low level call center employee.

He compared the failures of Healthcare.gov’s database technology to a glitch in an iPad and iPhone. A glitch is Angry Birds crashing. This was the equivalent to turning on an iPhone and having the device give you an error message for 3 hours. People wait in line and buy Apple’s products because they work. Not because they are forced to by Apple’s product enforcement security team.

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This could have been a real historic event for this President. Agreeing or disagreeing with the Affordable Care Act is irrelevant. Tuesday was a chance for him to confidently make his case for his signature legislation by clearly and concisely rolling out a product and describing exactly what it could do. He could have taken questions. He could have faced down opposition to these “Glitches” by demonstrating it live. But once again Barack Obama is a man who serves a shit sandwich and then becomes defensive when we complain about the taste. Instead of standing on a stage confidently, he shouted out a phone number and told us how cool magnets are. This was not a President emulating Steve Jobs. This was President Sham Wow. Obama and his administration rolls out a product 3 years in the making and then when it doesn’t work, compares it to a company who understands the value of functionality and design by taking 2 1/2 years to get the iPhone right before unveiling it.

He uses words like “Apple”, “iPad” and “iphone” because they buzz well. Not because he has the first clue about why people buy them and that’s ultimately the biggest disconnect about what Barack Obama’s philosophy about federal government being the driving economic engine of the US Economy.

He believes the United States Federal Government is the driving force of the economy. Democrats believe this and the network media complex falls in line with it.Yet on the same day Obama went on TV and threatened that Republicans were ready to destroy the economy by assisting in a government shutdown, American Airlines announced plans to hire 1,500 additional pilots. ?At the same time he was lamenting the need to close national monuments, World War II Veterans were showing the entire country just how much they needed an economy run by Obama Inc, despite the administrations best efforts.

Obama believes the “entire economy” is dependent on the Federal Government remaining open. Apple stock disagreed.

This is the disconnect. Apple makes a product people want and people will buy not because they have to be mandated into doing so. Our nation’s cherished memories of blood and treasure do not exist at the whim of a federal turnstile.

Obama went even further to compare Healthcare.gov to Amazon and Kayak. Amazon’s traffic hits up to 79 million people a month and handles them all with ease. The question is if Obama applauds Amazon as a service (A service born of private sector ingenuity and demand) why not employ the same people to database Healthcare.gov?

What we are witnessing before our very eyes is the federalization of not only our healthcare system but the federalization of ideas. The federalization of ingenuity. Anything you can do Government can do better. See, Federally mandated healthcare is just like Apple Corporation..We both have glitches! The problem with this analogy is Steve Jobs never told his friends and investors that not only do they not need an iPhone, but that he would issue them a waiver from ever having to buy one. If you like your Samsung, you can keep your Samsung.

The biggest logical fallacy to Obama’s Apple analogy is that he genuinely expects Healthcare.gov to run better and smoother in the future. How is that philosophy working out for the United Postal Service? The USPS has become little more than a coupon delivery service and it is the failure to adapt to changing technologies that they have had to resort to begging and lobbying it’s way into staying in existence. Instead of recognizing competition and adapting to suiting societies needs, the USPS has instead been reduced to online petitions to keep it on life support, with an online petition ironically enough.

Barack Obama himself stated, and echoed by his media darlings, that the reason the website crashed is because of overwhelming demand and Healthcare.gov is supposed to just level out once it’s not flooded with people looking for health insurance. How does this philosophy work for the DMV? Are there ever any slow days at the DMV because hey, no one needed a licence and the volume of people that received license’s has leveled out? No. Never.
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Remember this was a President elected on a technology and social media platform. He rode into office on the backs of Facebook and Twitter users in 2008. He was re-elected with a massive data mining operation unparalleled in the history of campaigns. It was revolutionary. His team is supposed to be young, hip and technically savvy, when it serves Barack Obama’s interests. Much to its credit, The Obama Administration has streamlined the design of almost every .Gov website but much like this President himself, it turns out when the hood is opened, there’s not much there to the functionality. The excuse the Obama Administration is leaking to trusted media palace guards is that Healthcare.gov would work great if no one was using it. Extraordinary technologies are great for Team Barack Obama during campaigns. Not so much when it comes to running healthcare online for the rest of us. Why should we have to tolerate a product that simply does not work?

The answer is simple. Because we have no choice.

Government is historically inefficient at attempting to capitalize on services the private sector offers. It will be no different with Healthcare.gov but the second a company like Fed Ex or Apple or Amazon releases a statement demanding you use their product or face a financial penalty and possibly jail time, Eric Holder and the DOJ would be on the scene with federal antitrust charges.

No one uses Apple because they are forced to. No one chooses Fed Ex or UPS or DHL or bike messengers over a federal mail delivery foot soldier because they are forced to. People choose these services over Government because they work better. This is the fact that is lost in the entire Obamacare/Shutdown fight. Not if the service is offered or mandated…But does it even work better?

This is the detail up until now the GOP and the media have conveniently let Obama skate by on. Once again the RNC leadership has been astonishingly docile on the web when reaching out to this niche of voters. More people side with Apple than Democrats. Reince Priebus and the RNC would be wise to realize this and make the case that forcing people into Healthcare.gov exchanges that do not work is nothing like Apple products that stores cannot keep in stock. When a consumer is given a choice, they are right every time.

Obama called the government the “largest employer in America” and stated that the “entire economy” would come to halt if in fact the Federal Government was shut down. On the same day he said that, and on the same day that Healthcare.gov told a million or so visitors to wait or give them 404 errors, I was able to book a dentist appointment in under 6 minutes on my private carrier’s website and order cat food from Amazon.com.

I was also able to do both these things from my iPhone without any glitches.

– SM –

 

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