Healthcare and the USA
I now keep hearing this statistic tossed at me all the time, that the US is ranked 37th in healthcare, right there next to Slovenia, and I keep asking, well, what does it mean? Today, I perused the internet, and found it--it comes out of some World Health Organization report. And I STILL have no idea what it means!
Like any overly broad ranking, it means very little. Rankings are an OVER-SIMPLICATION of statistics. (And let me just interject here: “Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics.”)
It reminds me of the US News and World Report college and university rankings--assigning numbers based on a select set of criteria, which, when added up, essentially amounts to zero, zip, zilch, nothing. And those criteria are chosen, and weighted, based on what the evaluator is looking for. With this WHO ranking, maybe we have really FANTABULOUS medical care, but if someone want us to look bad, they might heavily weigh the analysis so that we would.
I notice the countries ranked higher (France, Finland, etc.) tend to have a higher numbers for:
• GENERAL GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURE ON HEALTH AS % OF TOTAL EXPENDITURE ON HEALTH. (France at 76 vs 43 for the US).
• Social security expenditure on health as % of general government expenditure on health (97 vs. 33)
While we have higher numbers for Private prepaid plans as % of private expenditure on health (61 for the US vs. 53 for France.) Do the people who calculate the ranking DEDUCT points for that, or what? And REWARD countries for socialist style medicine? (I'm betting YES!)
A good read. As you can see, if the government is not paying for healthcare, in WHO’s rankings you are penalized.
Things don’t look good for the Democrats in the immediate future
It’s something of a professional hazard to make predictions this far out before the next election. Witness Karl Rove’s anticipation early in the Bush years of a permanent Republican majority, or James Carville’s boast in early 2009 that Democrats would dominate the political landscape for the next 40 years – a prediction off by 38 years.
But there are some telltale signs of what 2012 is going to look like, and it doesn’t take a crystal ball to understand that the SHORT TERM TRENDS LOOK DISMAL for congressional Democrats. Even if Democrats turn their political fortunes around, they’re still likely to lose seats in the Senate and will be hard-pressed to make inroads in the House, thanks to factors entirely out of their control.
The numbers tell the story in the Senate: The president’s party will be playing defense, with 23 Democratic-held seats up for grabs. By comparison, only 10 Republican Senate seats will be in play, most in solidly Republican states. It’s the most lopsided disparity for any party since 1980, when Democrats lost 12 Senate seats.
In fact, the Democrats only won 35% of the seats in the Senate that were up for reelection last week. To maintain control of the Senate they must wine 57% in 2012 and many of their seats are in Republican friendly states.
A Good Maureen Dowd Column
Maureen Dowd’s Conservative Brother makes a lot more sense than she does.
I once had a Jesuit English teacher who asked for an example of irony. A classmate raised his hand and wondered if Othello mistakenly killing Desdemona qualified. The old priest shook his head, noting, “That is not irony, bud, that is tragic irony.” So it is with the idea being floated that Hillary might join Obama on a dream ticket as V.P. to save his presidency. Hillary, the only member of the cabinet with any political savvy, saving the guy that jumped line on her. I don’t think so.
Here are my random thoughts for 2010:
To Sarah Palin: Mirror, mirror on the wall, you’re the fairest of them all. You don’t need to run for the presidency.
To Nancy Pelosi: It’s hard to watch a noble ideal ravaged by facts. We’re going to need that military jet back.
To Keith Olbermann: A welcome, but all too brief, respite. Thank God you’re not handicapping horses.
To Chris Matthews: Is that tingle now a spasm?
To Jon Stewart: Good work and great rally! You tower above your critics.
To Alan Grayson: Good riddance.
Interior inspector general: White House skewed drilling-ban report
The WHITE HOUSE REWROTE CRUCIAL SECTIONS of an Interior Department report to suggest an independent group of scientists and engineers supported a six-month ban on offshore oil drilling, the Interior inspector general says in a new report.
In the wee hours of the morning of May 27, a staff member to White House energy adviser Carol Browner sent two edited versions of the department report’s executive summary back to Interior. THE LANGUAGE HAD BEEN CHANGED TO INSINUATE THE SEVEN-MEMBER PANEL OF OUTSIDE EXPERTS – who reviewed a draft of various safety recommendations – ENDORSED THE MORATORIUM, according to the IG report obtained by POLITICO.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/44921.html#ixzz14uFyUrNv
Here are some of the consequences of this action.
As a candidate, Barack Obama promised that science, not ideology, would guide his decisions. Mark that down as another broken promise --- one that in this case is associated with an estimated 12,000 lost jobs and 1.8 billion dollars of lost economic activity, according to Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La).http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/11/027659.php
And I thought the Democrats were going to look only at science and not politicize it. You have to wonder if this Administration has any ethics or common sense at all.
What’s Obama’s body language saying?
Look at President Obama’s face during his White House press conference following last week’s post-midterm election debacle, and what do you see? You may not be a facial coding expert like I am, but anybody can recognize –and maybe even be shocked by—the degree to which Barack Obama has gone from the ebullient campaigner of 2008 to A VERY BITTER, FRUSTRATED MAN. The pressed lips and especially the bulge beneath the lower lip betray anger, disgust and sadness, with the last of those emotions accentuated by the narrow, lowered eyes that also reveal disappointment.
How, beyond the ghastly specter of partisan sniping and gridlock over pressing national issues, did it come to this point? Why has the president’s originally attractive cool confidence begun to strike many (especially independent) voters as aloof arrogance worth rejecting instead?
It appears BHO has become the same type of person (bitter and clinging) he described before the election in 2008.