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It was up to Obama to ensure a smooth rollout

I heard of someone in the Obama administration saying that, in theory, the government health care site worked. Yeah, well, in theory, the Titanic was unsinkable. As an information technology project manager for about 20 years, when I read references to rewriting 5 million lines of code or to developers working into the night, some near tears, facing unreasonable deadlines, I conclude that the health care site was another poorly planned, poorly executed IT project.

I see this all the time when the only real plan in effect is, “Get it done by X date, regardless of whether it’s actually possible.” Of the six phases of a project — enthusiasm, disillusionment, panic and hysteria, search for the guilty, punishment of the innocent, praise for the nonparticipants — President Obama appears to be in the seventh, political phase: namely, shine it up so it looks pretty.

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I voted for Obama twice, and think that Obamacare will ultimately prove to be a great boon to the country. But if this was the president’s signature accomplishment, it was his responsibility to make sure that it happened as flawlessly as possible, if only to counter the anti-big-government crowd. As the key stakeholder, this failure is entirely on him.

Jim Stewart


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