Kicking Portugese butt and not winning?

Wow, the annual nerd’s dream has come out, the Statistical Abstract of the United States 2010 has come out. You can buy the book but why would when you can get on the web site and browse all sorts of data to your heart’s content. Its published by the Census Bureau and it is FREE!

What are you going to use it for? Well when the lefty and the righty pundits and politicians are yakking about this and that about our country you come over here and check it out. You can find out the real deal. You can download it into excel and do your own ciphering and graphing. You to can be a pundit but instead of doing it the Oprah method (Just talk about your feelings) and you can use information and data (I love Oprah, so don’t be jacking with me.)

Lets take the big health care debate. Forget about whether you are for or against the plan being hammered out by the House and Senate Democrats. One basic question everybody has is: “How many uninsured people do we have in this country?”

This web site on table 151 says that 45,657,000 people in 2007 did not have health insurance in the United States. So now you are in the know on that fact. That fact is not good or bad. Its just a fact. Its up to each of us decide whether we think that is acceptable or something needs to change.

Isn’t this fun? Lets try something else. Some of the righties say “We have the greatest health system in the world!” (That makes me so proud.) Some of the lefties say “We are way down the list on life expactancy!” (Oh, I am so ashamed!) You know what I say. I say, my copays and deductibles are going up, my coverage is going down.

Well, lets look at the data. Now wouldn’t you think that if we had the greatest health care system in the world that we would could measure that somehow? How about life expectancy at birth? I mean the whole point of medicine is to keep people living long productive lives? Isn’t it. Hey lets look at the data. They have the data for industrialized countries. Lets rank them. (I tried to format this all nice and pretty but it is not happening, sorry) I had to use 2004 data because some of the countries didn’t have up to date data.

Country 2004
Iceland 79.2
Switzerland 78.6
Japan 78.6
Sweden 78.4
Australia 78.1
Italy 77.9
Canada 77.8
Norway 77.6
New Zealand 77.5
Spain 76.9
Netherlands 76.9
United Kingdom 76.8
France 76.7
Greece 76.6
Germany 76.5
Austria 76.4
Ireland 76.4
Belgium 76.0
Luxembourg 75.9
Finland 75.4
Denmark 75.4
United States  75.2
Portugal 75.0
Korea, South 74.5
Mexico 72.7
Czech Republic 72.6
Poland 70.7
Slovakia 70.3
Turkey 68.8
Hungary 68.6

Huh, uh, the United States is number 22, you gotta be kidding me.  Hey, don’t worry though, we are kicking some major Portugese butt!!

Well lets look at the list again, United Kingdom, socialist, Canada, socialist, Denmark, ditto, Sweden, ditto, Hey they are all socialists. Socialist you know what that is. Its when they are communist but you are trying to be polite. Here is the deal. Yeah, they have us beat by a few years but all their money goes to health care. That’s it! That is where they are spending all their money. Their economies are being dragged down by health care costs. Not us, we are free!!!

So guess, what, yeah you are catching on, Lets Look at the Data. (I should make this into a board game.) Lets take the same list of countries and rank them by % of Gross Domestic Product. (New Zealand didn’t have the data.)

Country 2004
United States 15.2
Switzerland 11.4
France 11.0
Belgium 10.7
Germany 10.6
Austria 10.3
Portugal 10.0
Iceland 9.9
Canada 9.8
Norway 9.7
Denmark 9.5
Netherlands 9.5
Sweden 9.2
Australia 8.8
Italy 8.7
Greece 8.3
Hungary 8.2
Spain 8.2
Finland 8.1
Luxembourg 8.1
Japan 8.0
United Kingdom 8.0
Ireland 7.5
Czech Republic 7.2
Slovakia 7.2
Mexico 6.5
Poland 6.2
Turkey 5.9
Korea, South 5.4

(New Zealand didn’t have the data)

USA, USA, USA, We’re number one!! Uh, oops, number one is not good! let me see, the USA spends 15% of our GDP on health care and the United Kingdom, where life expectancies are longer, spends just a little over half as much. Wait a minute, they are the socialists. We’re the capitalists. We spend 50% more than Portugal, and get the same results? Or we spend three times what South Korea spends, and gain 0.7 years of life expectancy? What’s up with that?

I don’t know, should we keep doing the same thing or should we look at changing things?

Or, I have a better idea. Lets just keep saying that we have the best health care system in the world! That’s the ticket. Maybe it’ll happen. Or not.

9 thoughts on “Kicking Portugese butt and not winning?

  1. Janie

    Wow, another controversial subject introduced on your blog. Yogi, you are the man!
    I love it when a position is backed up with actual statistics and facts.
    Our health care system is shameful. Private enterprise is in the business of making money, and making money off of illness is… well, sick. Doctors do too many procedures and tests, hospitals cut employees and decide how long people should stay based on their insurance coverage, and the insurance companies kick off enrollees if they cost too much, or raise the rates to ridiculous heights. Way too many people simply cannot afford health insurance or health care. Rates keep going up, and the amount of coverage goes down.
    No wonder most of the world is kicking our U.S. buttocks, longevity-wise.
    The current legislation is not the best it could be, but we have to start somewhere. If we can get something passed this year, I believe the necessary tweaks to make it better will be possible in years to come.
    Sorry for the rant, but you offered such a great platform!

  2. Yogi♪♪♪

    I don’t know what bothers me about the present discussion among many is the assumption that are present health care insurance system is good. With 46 million not insured, how is that good? The extra spending over other countries that have better results than us, how is that good?

    I agree with Janie. The bill being worked on now is far from perfect but it is a start.

    Personally I think the single payer system is the way to go.

  3. P M Prescott

    The last thing a politician wants is the facts. The ones hey pull out of thin air serve a much better purpose for them. Joe McCarthy found 40 communists working for the government off a blank piece of paper.

  4. Janie

    Had to come back to see the followup. I’m in favor of the single payer system, too, but I don’t think it’ll happen on this round. There’s just too much insurance money making the rounds among our congressmen.

  5. Yogi♪♪♪

    @PM Prescott – The politicians are a problem but it seems like the pundits like Beck are driving a lot of the action now. They are very imaginative.

    @Jeff Shaw – thanks, gday mate!

    @Driller – Well my stats are like several years old but I think you are right.

    @Janie – Oh yeah, insurance money, drug mfg money, doctor and hospital money, and on and on. I agree we are a ways from it, but hopefully we are headed for single payer.

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