By February 13, 2009 11 Comments Read More →

Waste in the Stimulus Bill Process?

I try to keep apolitical here, so I’m not necessarily looking for discussion of what might be viewed as “waste” (meaning wasteful spending) in the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” bill that the House just approved. There are plenty of good political sites for that (often clusters of like-minded folks on the left or the right without much debate). I guess the Lean Blog is a cluster of folks who like or agree with Lean principles, so I’ll quit throwing stones.

Hat tip to ReadTheStimulus.org for this. After the conference committee approved the bill that would come for a vote on Wednesday, I wanted to read parts of it, especially about healthcare. But the wording wasn’t available online. Legislation apparently isn’t written in a “wiki” format or even Google Documents, where it can be shared quickly and easily online.

It took until late Thursday night to get it posted online. That’s over 24 hours. Not very “Lean” (in terms of being fast) nor is it good for an informed public. Then, the Speaker’s website, where you could download the documents, was crashed (apparently due to the interest and web traffic generated).

The page where you can download the files is here.

  • 4 files
  • 100 MB of PDF downloads
  • 1419 pages

I guess we don’t expect our representatives to read what they’re passing (unfortunately, there’s precedent for this).

The thing that made the groan the most was seeing that the PDFs were created by:

  1. Printing document
  2. Scanning document
  3. Posting PDF

So it went: Digital –> Analog –> Worse form of Digital

(UPDATE: The PDF file is actually text searchable… so either ReadTheStimulus was wrong or they uploaded a new file).

That’s too many steps. “Waste” in the Lean lingo. They couldn’t have clicked “Save As PDF”? Would have been faster and easier… unless the goal was to make it hard to download and hard to read.

This makes it impossible to search the PDFs, when they are created as graphics. Created from a Word document, a PDF can be searched by words.

Again, so much for an informed electorate. We’re in such a hurry to “pass something” because it’s such a crisis.

I’m reminded of Lean phrases:

  • “Go slow to go fast”
  • “Don’t just do something, stand there!” (Dr. Deming, saying that sometimes no action is the best action)
  • “Do things right the first time.”

I guess they don’t apply in this setting.

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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an eBook titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

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11 Comments on "Waste in the Stimulus Bill Process?"

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for being a good citizen. I’m trying to download Part A and it says 4 minutes. How much bandwidth is being used to download these huge files? Probably not as much bandwidth as is being used to watch mindless crap on YouTube.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The file actually is text searchable.

  3. Mark Graban says:

    You’re right — just noticed that too.

  4. Anonymous says:

    You had a post on here about capping CEO pay.

    Guess what got removed from the final bill? The cap on CEO pay.

    Huffington Post (a place where mostly lefties hang out, I know).

  5. Anonymous says:

    Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.

    Otto von Bismarck

  6. Anonymous says:

    ‘Not one member has read this…’

    YOU TUBE VIDEO

  7. Dr. D says:

    You say “do things right the first time”, what about having an 85% solution and applying PDCA? I thought that was also the Toyota way?

    The Sec of Treasury said they will make mistakes and the plan might have to be changed as they go.

    “We will have to try things we’ve never tried before,” he said. “We will make mistakes. We will go through periods in which things get worse and progress is uneven or interrupted.” “

    This sounds like every Lean implementation I’ve been a part of, that quote. Managers weren’t usually that up front about it!

  8. George says:

    While we’re talking process, on Tuesday, they said we’d all have 48 hours to review before Congress voted… now that isn’t happening.

    Those on the left AND the right complained about the Patriot Act being rammed through.

    Seems like hypocrisy to ram this one through.

  9. Capt Conservative says:

    Hi- OK, but delving into politics…

    The Speaker’s website is, I’m afraid, lying to the American public. She says:

    “Provides $1.1 billion for comparative effectiveness research, to evaluate the relative effectiveness of different health care services and treatment options. This research will improve the quality of care.”

    Quality of care? No. This research will save money by rationing care, particularly to older Americans.

    http://tinyurl.com/c9lrxf

    The gameplan is in Sen. Daschle’s book “Critical” and nothing is stopping because he’s a tax cheat, I mean honest-mistake maker.

    In the UK, “NICE” rations care by denying cancer treatment because it’s not cost effective. Seniors could not get eye surgery until they went blind in one eye. Waiting times have been horrendous (although they’re working on it).

    Daschle and the Democrats want a “Federal Health Board” where bureaucrats would make decisions (life and death decisions) much like the Federal Reserve does for interest rates.

    I think we should all be very fearful of this. Daschle even wrote his gameplan for sticking healthcare reform into a budget package… very sneaky and there’s no debate.

    If you’re a Lean thinker, this sort of “top down” management should scare the crap out of you.

  10. Skeptical Sam says:

    Talk about “hurry up and wait”.

    The President isn’t even signing the bill until Tuesday. He’s gallivanting around Chicago with the First Lady this weekend.

    Some “crisis.” I think we’ve been had.

    Why couldn’t they take longer to read the bill and vote Monday?

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