"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?
I can't believe Obama was on the list, either. However, here's a list of British Prime Ministers who I know are/were engineers:
2. ...that's it.
Thatcher was a chemist, that's the closest I know of. I wuldn't be surprised if there has never been an engineer in charge in the UK.
I don't know the specifics about Obamacare, but did you know our NHS was a contender for being the most efficent healthcare system there is, so adding the state to the mix certainly doesn't make a healthcare system necessarily more expensive? (We pay something like 1/3 of the US cost per head for healthcare, yet our life expectancy is higher than yours. Obviously, there are other contributors to life expectancy, so I'm not claiming our system is better than yours, just much cheaper. In the words of the apocryphal Rolls Royce salesman, it is "adequate").
Susan, we're only addressing whether or not President Obama thinks like an engineer.
Yes, compromise is not just "part" of engineering, it is intrinsic in all of engineering. Which is why hyped up stories that only give the positive aspects of some idea or new gadget, without explaining the tradeoffs, sound lame. But that's perhaps a different discussion.
My only point here is that anyone schooled in engineering would not promise "no change necessary" to a system, for those already participating in it today, while at the same time promising that this system will be handling big changes in inputs and providing big changes in outputs. The most kind explanation for such foolish promises is a severe dose of cluelessness. (Then there are the less kind explanations.)
You're bringing up other points, debates about single payer plans and the like, which would obviously change people's health care plans. Certainly, if public health plans are introduced, people's plans would HAVE to change. If for no other reason, corporations, seeing that public health plans are available, will simply drop their coverage and tell employees to use public heath care. You wouldn't have any option there, as an employee. So here again, how can anyone explain this fairy tale about people being able to keep their current plan? Ridiculous, right?
As to its costs, that's a whole other debate. Government doesn't grow money on trees. Whatever it costs gets paid by taxpayers. Depending what kind of tax is used to pay for this new scheme, it may hit only the middle class. Of course, corporations would have lower overhead costs, so theoretically their products could cost less. My bet is, single payer would hit the middle class most, as always. Because my bet is, the money for public health care would come out of income taxes, not sales taxes or social security tax. Some of the money may also come from corporate taxes, bringing overhead costs back up for companies. No free lunch.
All, regarding BHO being a Constitutional lawyer let's not confuse interest and intention. So he studied Constitutional law (we're told), but has anyone asked why he chose that subject? Why assume it was for reverence?
What did SunTzu say about the enemy? And doesn't a good thief "case" a neighborhood and his target household/bank before he makes a move? Closer to home, what do we do when we reverse engineer something? Tear-a$$ into it and start throwing parts around the lab? Or, do we maybe first examine how it's built and take notes? Apply that to the nation-big job of subverting or dissmantling something as complicated as a 230 year old, multi-facited institution that is at the heart of a nation. Wouldn't you first want to at least know the basic framework?
There is the mind and then there is the heart. In many cases they are aligned. In some cases they are not. In either case you'd do well to examine both separately, especially when it comes to those in positions of power.
Interesting. What about compromise as part of an engineer's job? It's a big theme on more design-oriented sites -- vendor-written papers frequently call it "tradeoffs." So many articles start off: "Design teams have to decide between power and functionality, or X vs N -- you fill in the blank. Isn't that what all presidents have to do too? You're saying there's one way to solve the problem but often there are more ways to solve problems. Let's say the president actually believed (and I don't think he does) in a single payer healthcare system because on the surface it seems simpler: fewer moving parts, achieves wider coverage, could keep costs down, could reduce the burden on US business, which in turn could employ more people because it lowers labor costs. But instead the president and Congress have to settle for what's possible in the political situation. Perhaps it's how a president handled compromise -- after all that is politics: the art of compromise.