Saturday, July 11, 2009

Comment rescues, bad math, and ridiculous factoids of the health care debate

Because people who have an agenda rarely bother to check their facts, and people who agree with their agenda rarely bother to challenge them, things like this comment on the American Medical Association versus Physicians for National Healthcare pass into history as fact-free talking points:

The majority of doctors who used to be members of the AMA, have left that group and joined Physicans for National Health Care. These doctors are all for single payer health care!

Not that this commenter will every reaLIZe it, but the statistics say otherwise.

The AMA has not quite 245,000 members, of whom about 135,000 are actually practicing physicians (the rest are retired, medical students, or other medical personnel). This means the AMA represents something like 15% of the 900,000 practicing physicians in the United States today.

Physicians for a National Health Program [the actual name of the group] claims 14,000 members. Again, not all are doctors; many are retired, medical students or allied health professionals.

Assuming that 55% of the members of PNHP [the same percentage as the AMA] are practicing physicians, this would mean that PNHP represents the views of not quite 1% of the 900,000 practicing physicians in the United States today.

For either organization to claim to speak for the entire medical profession is, therefore, dishonest, but for anyone to suggest that PHNP represents the voice of American physicians borders on delusional.

Still, it won't matter, because the relationship of talking points to truth is no longer really very important, is it?


Anonymous said...

God, I'm so glad you pointed this out. The credibility of branding with an association is so lost these days on most people. Show me membership. I will give their marketeers credit though. They have managed to hoodwink the public into thinking the AMA, ADA, ANA, NEA, and every other "profession" with a seal can be likened to a "Good Housekeeping" seal. Great strategy. But lousy policy and politics for the most part. Just ask your best doctors, greatest teachers, and most competent dentists.

Anonymous said...

are you using a calculator???

that's cheating!!!

Anonymous said... that the place to go