Pick Two

Long long ago, in a galaxy far far away…

I was a computer programmer.  I suppose I still am, I do crank out some code every now and then, but nothing more than little helper scripts and apps to make things run smoothly on my home computers.  But that’s neither here nor there.

When I was a computer programmer we had a saying: “Fast.  Good.  Cheap.  Pick Two.”  It was in reference to the computer software we were producing at the time.  As a customer (or manager), you could get the product quickly, you could get a really good product, or you could get it relatively inexpensively.  But due to the competing dynamics of the situation, you could only get TWO.  Meaning you could get good software and you could get it fast, but it would not be cheap.  Or you could get the software fast and you could get it cheap, but it would not be good software.  Does this make sense?  Its the classic example of a Project Triangle.

Which brings me to my political point of this post.  President Obama is trying to convince the American public that he can somehow cover everyone with insurance, lower costs, and increase the quality of care.  The problem is that the logic of that promise doesn’t hold water.  That dog won’t hunt.  Namely because of the interrelated dynamics of health care makes this another example of the Project Triangle.  You can only pick two of those promises and hope to fulfill them.  If you cover more people and increase the quality of care, costs will go up.  If you increase the quality of care and lower costs, you cannot cover everyone.  If you cover everyone and lower costs, the quality of care will fall.

The scary thing that we are facing is that last scenario is the exact two that Obamacare is going to choose.


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