Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday Links -- October 26

From left to right, CGI Federal's Cheryl Campbell, Optum/QSSI's Andrew Slavitt, Equifax Workforce Solutions' Lynn Spellecy, and Serco's John Lau are sworn in during a hearing on implementation of the Affordable Care Act before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Oct. 24, 2013.

But if you place these kinds of managers on the critical communication chain of a software project, you immediately endanger its success. Project quality is sacrificed for the sake of appearances—meeting the letter of the contract with indifference toward the actual practical outcome. Even if you put “the best and the brightest” (to borrow the administration’s own phrase) on a project, the mere presence of such managers can make it impossible to do good work, because the lines of communication will be broken.

==►  Go to the link for the gory details.

Krugman's column is good. He points out how the two government-sponsored models we already have -- Medicare and Social Security -- are uncomplicated and well-run. 
It's even more basic than what Prof K. states. The reason it's so complicated is because it's insurance. There were no simple insurance plans (none worth anything) prior to Obamacare - you need to be a lawyer and/or accountant to interpret all the pre-ex clauses, network provider clauses, out of pocket clauses, and so on. 
Insurance companies make plans complicated on purpose, the same way phone companies make mobile contracts complicated on purpose, the same way cable companies make a dizzying array of packages, the same way credit card companies make opaque user agreements. 
American companies stopped innovating products a long time ago, and have been innovating financial complexity for decades now. It's the only way they can make money.

Last night I was surfing in the middle of the night and came across 
the great genius cartoons of Barry Deutsch. 

The burgeoning battle between fast-food workers and their employers over low wages and benefits was ratcheted up a notch, this week, with the leak of a phone conversation from a McDonald’s employee helpline in which a longtime employee was advised to go on food stamps in order to make ends meet.

Fast-food employee advocacy group Low Pay Is Not OK posted a video on its website on Wednesday featuring a recording of a phone call made by McDonald’s employee Nancy Salgado to McResource, a phone line for McDonald’s employees to call for information about housing, child care and other resources.

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