Saturday, February 19, 2011

Reading "The New Republic" for entertainment purposes

So Americans buying comparable coverage to what they have today -- I already said this -- would see premiums fall by 14 to 20 percent -- that’s not my numbers, that’s what the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says -- for Americans who get their insurance through the workplace. How many people are getting insurance through their jobs right now? Raise your hands. All right. Well, a lot of those folks, your employer it’s estimated would see premiums fall by as much as 3,000 percent, which means they could give you a raise.
Obama's speech to his supporters

Will the 3000 percent reduction be effective in all 57 states?
Posted by mndasher  in response to Obama's prediction.

I assume that everybody is still allowed to buy more than one health insurance plan. I would like to become multi-millionaire and the sooner the better.
Posted by Observer Mar in response to Obama's prediction.

Reading "The New Republic" for entertainment purposes
People ask me from time to time - "Alex, why do you read liberal authors?". I normally reply that I like entertainment, and liberal authors are always entertaining. Their opuses are sometimes funnier than the best comedies. I remember some time ago there was a show on TV where they would roll a particularly bad movie and have two dolls comment on it. Naturally, most of what liberals write is of so low intellectual quality, that pointing out the fallacies in their articles is as easy as shooting the fish in the barrel. But still, someone has to shoot the fish in the barrel - where do you think you get your fish products from? More importantly, from time to time you need to open your soul and let Hannibal Lecter out, so he breathe some fresh air.

The article that spiked my attention this time was published in the ever-so-entertaining "The New Republic (for idiots)". It was written by Jonathan Cohn about evil republicans who are going to cut federal funding for some impossibly long-named government healthcare program. Here are a few selected quotes that capture the main gist of the article...
...the Republicans are also proposing a more immediate cut in health care spending--one that could impose real hardship on a population that can ill afford to bear it....

..How big is the cut? On paper, House Republicans propose to reduce clinic funding from current levels by $1 billion, or roughly a third of their total federal funding...

..based on estimates from the Senate Appropriations Committee and the National Association of Community Health Centers, it sounds like more than 100 clinics could close and more than 1000 clinics could reduce services, leaving around 3 million people without a regular source of affordable health care...

... Downsizing or shuttering clinics also means laying off some of the people who work there. How many jobs are we talking? The Center on American Progress pegs the loss at 178,000 in the next year....
Now, lets me summarize this. Evil GOP wants to cut 1 billion dollars from the federal medical funding. According to TNR, that would result in closing of 100 clinics, reduction in service for more than 1000 clinics, 3 million people would be left without affordable health care and 178,000 workers would be laid off.

Let's now look at the facts. Federal, state and local spending on Medicaid increased from 2006 to 2010 by a hefty 66.4 billion dollars (66 times more than the amount of money that GOP is willing to cut from the government medical care for 2011).  If Jonathan's numbers on the consequences of cutting 1 billion dollars from the government spending are correct, then during the last 4 years, 6600 new clinics were open, 199 million new people got access to "regular source of affordable health care", and nearly 12 million people were hired to work for the government health care.
(Note that the inflation during the last few years was pretty low, so I am not losing a lot of accuracy when I am quoting the nominal budget numbers.)

But this is hardly the end of it. In 2010, the total government spending on Medicaid was 335 billion dollars (which is 335 times the amount that the GOP is trying to cut). Again, if Jonathan is accurate in his dire predictions, then the entire Medicaid spending was sufficient to support 33,500 clinics, provide "regular source of affordable health care" to 1 billion people (that's "billion" with a very capital "B") and employ nearly 60 million people exclusively for Medicaid. On top of that, the government spent additional 452 billion dollars on Medicare - which at least would mean 45,200 more clinics and 80 million medical workers.

It's true that Jonathan Cohn made a number of weasel disclaimers:

Calculating the precise impact of those cuts is tricky...

Although I can't vouch for the precision of these figures...

I can't speak to that figure's veracity...

Disclaimers or not, but Jonathan was aptly described in a very good British movie "Snatch":

Doug (coming up with an excuse): Avi, I'm not telepathic.
Avi: You're plenty stupid, I'll give you that.

In all fairness, I need to remind everyone that it was Jonathan Cohn who actually published these ridiculous numbers on the pages of TNR, and it was his responsibility to check if they passed the laughing test. And indeed, the statistics he quotes fails the laughing test with flying colors - as one would expect from the data presented in a liberal publication. And if (there's a really small "if") Jonathan is completely lacking any common sense and skills to perform the most basic arithmetic operations, then TNR editors and fact checkers were supposed to check his numbers and tell Jonathan to drop the article (and hang himself). But neither of these things happened, and poor miserable liberals are consuming Jonathan's statistics without a single doubt in their minds - just check out the comments on the TNR website and note that not a single liberal was smart enough to question the numbers.

I want to end this article with a quote from a great American movie - "The Producers" - which pretty much illustrates fuzzy liberal math in general, and Jonathan's in particular (and don't forget Obama's 3000% cut in premium costs)...

Max Bialystock: Leo, how many percentage of a play can there be all together?
Leo Bloom: Max, you can only sell one-hundred percent of anything.
Max Bialystock: And, how much of "Springtime for Hitler" have we sold?
Leo Bloom: Twenty-five thousand percent.

Indeed, Jonathan Cohn has sold to his readers far more than 100% of the GOP proposed cut to the medical budget of the US government. It's probably close to the Leo Bloom's twenty-five thousand percent. But that's life, some people studied math in school, and some dreamed of becoming liberal journalists. You cannot have both.


Trestin said...

I will take the Republicans serious when they go after Social Security of Medicare.

Anonymous said...

The_Kid said...

Didn't Kruchev promise in the 60's that our children would grow up as stupid dumbasses (communists)

Trestin, Only hit SS and Medicare after we close the Dept of Energy and the Dept of Education, and after we raise the age on SS for those under say 35 years old and put it back under lock and key.