Eyes Up?

In the olden days, when coaches were trying to teach youngsters how to play basketball, they would devise various drills where the players were required to dribble the basketball without looking at the ball.  The intention was an early example of “multi-tasking”.  Coaches wanted players to gain proficiency in bouncing the basketball using their fingertips while at the same time they surveyed the court finding ways to implement the game strategy.   Doing two things well was the goal.

In an analogy, the problems with “healthcare.gov” can be traced to the White House’s inability to undertake two things at once.

Dribbling the ball is analogous to designing, developing, and launching software for the web site.    (This was not some trail blazing event.  Similar web sites and others as complicated have been developed in the past and are being developed everyday now.  Doing it well simply requires practice and discipline.

Keeping the eyes up while dribbling is analogous to the White House political management role.  Too much White House attention is spent, unfortunately, just trying to outwit political opponents.  While this is necessary (although not ideal), in the Obama White House the consequence was too little management of the site design and development.

To be fair, the White House business is not web site development any more than it is to fight a war.  Both are tools to achieve some policy.  But doing two things well at once is a requirement of the office.

The Affordable Care Act is an important reform of what was the existing US healthcare delivery system.  By introducing a customer friendly web site, the White House could take an important step in bringing ACA value to Americans.  This should have been obvious to Administration officials.  There is little excuse for a second class web site introduction.

What is, however, even more important is that the White House ensure that Americans understand the difference between the benefits and requires of ACA, and the web site purposes.  A less than perfect web site in no way lessens the importance or value of ACA reform benefits.

It is late to be learning how to keep “eyes up while dribbling”, but the selling of ACA over Republican opposition is not finished.  Coach Obama better get his game face on and get back on the court.  ACA is too important a reform to lose over something not related to healthcare.

Explore posts in the same categories: Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Politics, Republican Party

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