Thursday, October 7, 2010

Figures never lie

...but liars often figure, they say. Someone famously put it this way: “There are three types of falsehoods: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.”

Someone (not the same someone) sent me the following e-mail. I have no way of knowing whether it is true or false, but I agree that the statistics are very interesting. I decided to pass the article along to you.

[E-mail begins]

A recent Investor’s Business Daily article provided some very interesting statistics from a survey by the United Nations International Health Organization. [Editor’s note: Right there is an inaccuracy. The International Health Organization (IHO) is an organization that concentrates solely on India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, and it is not part of the United Nations. The World Health Organization (WHO) is part of the United Nations. -- RWP]

* Percentage of men and women who survived a cancer five years after diagnosis: U.S. 65%, England 46%, Canada 42%

* Percentage of patients diagnosed with diabetes who received treatment within six months: U.S. 93%, England 15%, Canada 43%

* Percentage of seniors needing hip replacement who received it within six months: U.S. 90%, England 15%, Canada 43%

* Percentage referred to a medical specialist who see one within one month: U.S. 77%, England 40%, Canada 43%

* Number of MRI scanners (a prime diagnostic tool) per million people: U.S. 71, England 14, Canada 18

* Percentage of seniors (65+) with low income who say they are in “excellent health”: U.S. 12%, England 2%, Canada 6%

[The following is still part of the quoted e-mail.  Just because it uses first person doesn't mean that the first person is me. --RWP]

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want “Universal Healthcare” comparable to England or Canada.

Moreover, it was Senator Harry Reid [Nevada Democrat who is Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate] who said, “Elderly Americans must learn to accept the inconveniences of old age.”

SHIP HIM TO CANADA OR ENGLAND!

He is “elderly” himself but be sure to remember his health insurance is different from yours as Congress has their own high-end coverage. He will never have to learn to accept “inconveniences.”

And perhaps the most interesting statistic of all is the percentage of each president’s cabinet since 1901 who had worked in the private business sector prior to being appointed to the cabinet:

Theodore Roosevelt................38%
William Howard Taft.............40%
Woodrow Wilson ...................52%
Warren G. Harding...............49%
Calvin Coolidge.....................48%
Herbert Hoover.....................42%
Franklin D. Roosevelt.............50%
Harry S Truman...................50%
Dwight D. Eisenhower............57%
John F. Kennedy....................30%
Lyndon Johnson....................47%
Richard Nixon.......................53%
Gerald Ford...........................42%
Jimmy Carter.......................32%
Ronald Reagan.......................56%
George H. W. Bush..................51%
Bill Clinton............................39%
George W. Bush......................55%

...and the winner of the chicken dinner is:

Barack Obama........................ 8%

Yes, that is correct. Only eight per cent, the least by far of the last 19 presidents. And these people are trying to tell our big corporations how to run their business? They know what’s best for GM ... Chrysler ... Wall Street ... and you and me?

How can the president of the nation and society with the most successful economic system in world history stand and talk about business when he has never worked for one? Or about jobs when he has never really had one? And neither have 92% of his senior staff and closest advisers. They’ve spent most of their time in academia, government and/or non-profit jobs ... or as “community organizers” when they should have been in an employment line.

[End of E-mail]

Perhaps these figures are true, and perhaps they aren’t. Does it matter? Does anyone care to comment?

P.S. - No one wanted to talk about Aunt Zeituni Onyango. Pity.
I must be losing my touch.

4 comments:

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Take one of these dubious statistics:-
Percentage of patients diagnosed with diabetes who received treatment within six months: U.S. 93%, England 15%, Canada 43%

My wife is a health centre nurse specialising in diabetes. I can assure you that at that practice and at any other National Health Service practice in the UK, 100% of just-dianosed diabetics will receive free "treatment" within two weeks of diagnosis. The 15% figure is a total lie. How can we accept any other of these so-called "statistics" as gospel?

Regarding Obama's inner cabinet, what the hell is so wonderful about business people? Most - but not all - of them are self-seeking bigots who don't give a damn about the idea of "society".

Carolina said...

I know to little about this subject to give you an informed comment.

Pat - Arkansas said...

When asked for an opinion, 100% of the humans who reside in this household indicated a high degree of interest in your blog. In contrast, only 33% (+/- 2% margin of error) of the resident felines approved of or were amused/entertained by their owner's responses to your posts.

All that being said, I'd rather trust my sometimes worrisome but so far minor medical ailments to the American medical system. As to the political issues you raised, I say not.

Brian said...

For better or for worse, I have no statistics to offer, just experiences. After many a year with the English health system and (soon-to-be-independent) Catalan one, I have no complaints. I have had nothing too serious but always received treatment within what I consider very respectable time spans, and top-class treatment at that.

Other family members and friends have had more serious ailments but my opinion is that they were offered an excellent service.

Just one example: my father-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and only 6 months to live. Within the same week he started to receive daily visits from carers and nurses, and when they (and the family) were no longer able to cope with him at home, he was immediately given a place in a top-class local nursing home.

I have no personal experience of the US system but did see a documentary over here showing how a medical NGO had given up (or cut down on?) working abroad in "third world" countries so as to be able to help out US citizens. They went from town to town offering free GP services in local halls and sport centres with (poor) people queuing at the door. True or not, I do not know either¿?