RSS

The Worst Interpretation of Research I’ve Ever Seen

04 Nov

I was perusing “The Health Care Blog” and just read this entry from John Goodman, President of the National Center for Policy Analysis. Now, it’s no secret that he’s conservative, but that doesn’t excuse the way he tries to argue that lacking insurance doesn’t make people any worse off.

Goodman says:

“As I wrote at my blog the other day, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) discovery that Hispanics (one-third of whom are uninsured) have a life expectancy that is 2 1/2 years longer than whites (90% of whom have health insurance) makes mincemeat out of the oft-repeated idea that the uninsured get less health care and die earlier than everyone else.”

Of course, later he says:

“Now if we did research at the NCPA the way Families USA does research, we would be claiming that lack of insurance actually makes people live longer!”

Yes, let’s not go too far in our interpretation of his misinterpretation. He is not saying that lacking insurance makes you live longer, he’s just saying that lacking insurance doesn’t shorten your life. And how does he reach this conclusion? Because Hispanics live longer, on average, than non-Hispanic whites, despite Hispanics being more than 3 times more likely than non-Hispanic whites to be uninsured. Really?! It couldn’t possibly be that the difference in life expectancy is due to other factors like diet, lifestyle, genetics, could it? It couldn’t possibly be the case that if more Hispanics were insured, the gap in life expectancy between them and non-Hispanic whites would grow even wider, could it? In both cases, the answer is a resounding “OF COURSE IT COULD!”

The statistics from the CDC that Goodman sites are not flawed. His interpretation of them is, however. The only way to state, with certainty, that being uninsured doesn’t matter, is to identify two groups who are identical in every respect except for their insurance status, and follow them over the course of their life time. That is not what these data do. Goodman has simply overstepped, misinterpreted data to push a policy agenda, and hoped that everyone who read his post would be too slow to see his slight of hand. Sorry, Mr. Goodman. You didn’t fool me.

Advertisements
 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 4, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

2 responses to “The Worst Interpretation of Research I’ve Ever Seen

  1. Joel

    November 4, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    I guess since Bentleys carry higher insurance rates than Corvettes, that pretty much makes mincemeat out of the idea that Corvette drivers drive as fast as Bentley drivers. I'm not suggesting that they actually drive *faster* of course, because my research is top quality! But it does make you wonder! Maybe if you paid more insurance your car would go even faster??? I think the research proves that wearing driving gloves not only lowers your insurance, but makes you Hispanic and thus makes you immortal.I am a master statigician and these are my conclusions.

     
  2. Michael Kirsch, M.D.

    November 5, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Without commenting on the merits of the statement, " Goodman has simply overstepped, misinterpreted data to push a policy agenda, and hoped that everyone who read his post would be too slow to see his slight of hand", we can agree that all sides of the health care debate have used subterfuge and legerdemain. Have you any quarrel with how the political left argued their case?

     

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: