— POLITICO (@politico) December 21, 2016
I’ll be downloading everything that I can from Healthcare.gov by January 15th.
I hope that I’m wasting my time but the cost benefit analysis is clear that downloading and archiving is a plausible choice. In the best case scenario, I waste my time. It is only two weeks on the clock while I build a deeper understanding of the entire data universe. I’ve wasted two weeks on projects that had no pay-off before and I know that I will be on projects that go nowhere at some point again in my life. I will have learned something and brought into local control useful data that I can bounce off of national data. Best case scenario, I incur minor costs that are slightly higher than minor benefits.
It is the worst case scenario where data just gets either locked down or yanked from the public and is only accessible via FOIA requests in non-user friendly formats that the pay-off is strong. Again it is two weeks of my life but it is access to years of research material that can fuel impactful analysis. It would be the creation of health policy wonk trading sub-culture that rivals show tapes of Deadheads — I’ll trade you a 2014 Rate PUF for a 2009 CBO public option report man….
And if you assume that this worst case scenario has more than a 1% chance of happening, that is a very good use of a few weeks and a few gigabytes worth of space.
I have to assume environmental and consumer protection focused folks are doing the same thing, just in case.