If there is one thing giant corporations can be trusted to do well, it’s to develop and follow repeatable processes.
Making french fries? There’s a process for that.
Introducing a new product? Process.
Hiring? Follow the process. Laying off? That too.
Overhauling the corporate benefits package? More processes.
From small details (foreclosing on a customer’s home) to large (merging with your largest competitor), there’s a process for everything. That’s how companies succeed in growing big — by distributing work across thousands of people with confidence it will get done right.
Processes create a repeatable way of doing things and, when things go wrong, a means for figuring out what happened and how to make it better the next time.
Processes are so important that there are processes for developing processes. There are college degrees and international associations for process management. People with specialized training literally earn black belts to create, evaluate and improve processes.
The federal government relies on processes for the same reason.
When introducing legislation that would make a large structural change involving billions of dollars and millions of human lives — say, for example, overhaul of the healthcare system — the process includes a technical analysis of costs and benefits by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). It’s important because intelligent debate on the law’s merits would be impossible without some educated, non-partisan estimate of its potential impact. It leaves the advanced accounting to people who have black belts in accounting, and political debate to people who have black belts in politics.
It doesn’t matter whether the CBO estimate proves out to be absolutely correct. What matters is that a reasonable, tested process is used, so laws can be debated intelligently for their likely impact, measured for their results, and improved over time.
So why has the GOP-led House of Representatives ignored this critical process in rolling out Trumpcare or Ryancare or whatever you want to call it?
The White House wants us to believe it’s because CBO analysis is unreliable. That’s open to debate; while some of CBO’s Obamacare projections missed the mark, the original CBO analysis couldn’t take into account what it couldn’t foresee: That upon approval, the GOP would spend the next 8 years waging an aggressive, proactive assault to make sure the program didn’t work. And by many measures, Obamacare is doing the job the CBO analysis said it would do: providing health care insurance to many who couldn’t get it before, and reducing healthcare costs across the system.
Even if wildly inaccurate, CBO analysis allows an apples-for-apples comparison between Obamacare and Trump-Ryancare. If it follows the same guidelines to analyze the new bill as it did the old, a comparison of the two laws’ relative impact becomes possible.
Republicans, who have said the government needs to run more like a giant business, are headed in the other direction: shredding processes and winging it.
Why? That’s open to interpretation. But now that the GOP is in full command, its members don’t seem the least bit interested in governing. At least not like a business.