For years, town leaders and planners had been discussing the need for a state of the art hospital for the region. Such a facility would provide local residents with cutting edge medical services,  attract new healthcare professionals to the area and alleviate the need for people to travel significant distances to obtain quality medical care.

Of course, the idea of a new hospital was not without its detractors.  Some local physicians worried that the influx of new doctors might take patients away from their established practices.  The one and only radiologist in town and the physician who owned the one and only 24/7 urgent care office were apoplectic in their opposition to the building of a new hospital. 

Locals who worried about the character of the town changing and healthcare professionals worrying about their personal finances being negatively impacted promoted a number of specious arguments in opposition:   the new facility will attract poor people and illegal aliens in need of medical care; the new facility will drive up real estate values and make the town unaffordable to working-class people; the town would lose its quite down-home charm and become a bustling city; the influx of new people to work at the hospital would require an expensive expansion of city services and schools. 

Even though all feasibility studies showed that the new hospital would generate millions in tax revenue for the town, opponents of the project effectively used the prospect of increased municipal expenditures to suggest the project would exhaust community resources.

After countless town hall meetings, referendums and at least 3 court challenges, the town built its brand new cutting edge modern medical facility.  A number of outstanding surgeons and medical specialists from around the nation signed on and relocated their families to the town. For the first time in decades new homes were being built, new retail stores and restaurants were opening on Main Street.

Just two days after the new hospital opened, the admissions office reported that a software glitch was making it impossible to register new patients.  Hospital administrators instructed the IT Department to do whatever was necessary to address the problem, even if that meant taking extraordinary steps like buying management software, recruiting the best and brightest IT people to fix the problem.

As word spread throughout that the hospital admissions office was ostensibly inoperative, those who had opposed the building of this new state of the art health center were gleeful.  The local radiologist who had opposed the project because of his previous monopoly took out a full-page in the local newspaper that simply said:  “TOLD YOU SO!”   The ladies auxiliary at the Baptist Church that had expressed concerns that the new hospital might attract undesirables proudly declared that the software problem was an act of providence. Those who opposed the hospital simply out of fear of the changes it might bring to the culture and demographic profile of the town quickly began organizing petitions and rallies.  Hundreds of signs and banners were printed and posted around town:


End of the story, back to the real world.

Folks, is it OK that the website for registering Americans for insurance coverage now being provided under the Affordable Care Act wasn’t prepared to do the job it was supposed to do?  Of course not.   The website problems will be fixed and “Obamacare”  will eventually make a qualitative difference in how Americans access health care.  Can we please put the histrionics about the Affordable Care Act website on hold and remind the naysayers who were willing to bring down our government and economy to stop this project that they appear to be as simple, selfish and disconnected from reality as the people in this parable who want to destroy a needed hospital because of software problem in the admissions office?