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.
New Zealand 77.5
United Kingdom 76.8
United States 75.2
Korea, South 74.5
Czech Republic 72.6
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.)
United States 15.2
United Kingdom 8.0
Czech Republic 7.2
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.