“Figures lie and liars figure.” That was a favorite aphorism of the man who preceded me as a county commissioner. He used the saying to mock any statistic that displeased him and used it so often that eventually he discredited himself. Still, I agree that statistics are as pliable as taffy. In the last presidential campaign we were exposed to claim that 47% of Americans are takers and not producers. We all know the truth of that statistic.
Numbers are flying again as the country approaches the full implementation of Obamacare. Geoff Colvin, in a recent article for Fortune magazine decries that major health care programs will grow from “more that 5% of GDP today to almost 10% in 2037.” (“2013: The Year We Become the Health Care Nation,” by Geoff Colvin, Fortune, 1/14/2023.)
Colvin’s statistic came from the Congressional Budget Office. What he fails to reveal is that, according to that same office, without the implementation of a program like Obamacare, that 10% could be higher.
Statistics, it seems to me, are a poor way to discuss policy. Is it really shocking, for example, that the new system will mean fewer employer based insurance programs and that the responsibility for coverage will be shifted to the consumer, as Colvin points out?
I’m not shocked. Wage earners have always paid for their employer based insurance. The benefit comes at the expense of higher salaries. No one really believes those premiums are paid from the employer’s profits, do they? So why not put the choice of coverage in the consumer’s hands? That’s a question statistics can’t answer.
(Courtesy of globalhealtheduction.org)