Mr. Obama definitely started as an Engineer when he was contesting elections. And the engineering spark could be see for few years after winning presidential elections. But is the spark difused from few months.
Most presidents had economic motives, but did not use scientific methods. Instead they used crony capitalism or moralizing law-making. I prefer those that were willing to test old assumptions by experimentation, like Medicare, Social Security and Affordable Care Act, all of which were attacked loudly. The post WWII veterans were educated by a great experimentalist, FDR, and they got low cost housing and a start on health care for veterans. That vets health care system WAS modified many times to make it CHEAPER but not better until recent years.
The famous post-WWII hiway system was designed with long straight streches to land planes in event of attack on US. It was well engineered, but not maintained in many places due to cost cutting, but worse, the STATE roads really degraded from cost cutting. The best engineering marvels require long term support, but if the crowd is raving about social issues rather then functional infrastructure we get what we deserve.
But my feeling is that SCIENCE WILL PREVAIL in the long term, and the moralizers and crony capitalists will leave more debris than working systems that benefit the people. Leave the social issues to the neighbordhood leaders, and let us improve the higher levels of the country with scientific methods and transparency in financing and procurement methods.
I used to tell the the joke about the difference between Civil Engineers and Combat Engineers, but then someone reminded me that there are two types of Combat Engineers: one builds bridges and the other blows them up. Everyone has their own idea of which type of Combat Engineer President Obama is, but I can't see where he's built any substantial bridges in the last five years.
"Perhaps it's how a president handled compromise -- after all that is politics: the art of compromise."
And that is perhaps one reason why there are few engineers in politics. Engineers are more concerned with "what works" while politics is often about debate and compromise over idealogical issues that may or may not "work" at all. Perfect for lawyer and academic types, but anathema to engineering types...
Cost of care is, indeed, one measure of efficiency in a healthcare system, but so is quality of care and outcome. It is easy to reduce cost of healthcare in any system and all government healthcare systems do this to one degree or another. 80% of healthcare costs are spent on 20% of the healthcare recipients. We call this 20% of the healthcare cost recipients "sick" people and the sickest cost the most to treat because they have cancer or some other disease that is costly to treat. If we just stopped treating the sick, and instead spent the money on prophylactic care for healthy people, we could reduce costs by 80%. The advantage of doing this from the government's perspecitve is that sick people are probably unable to vote and the healthy people will be grateful for their free checkups and they will vote. Everybody wins - well okay, except for the sick, but how many of them are there, really?