I am a huge fan of ‘walking around stats.’ I spew them all the time, not just here.
Drop some big, attention grabbing stat watch people marvel at the brilliance. Besides that, they are also valuable in helping crystallize things in people’s mind. Too many numbers become a fog; a good ‘walking around’ number sticks.
These stats are not too technical and not too complicated. You can convey them in three seconds or less and they deliver a big punch. Detailed accuracy is not the point (Hey, if you only wasted three seconds of someone’s life, they’ll forgive you’re off a smidge), just be directionally correct.
One of my favorite of these walking around numbers was that the government, through Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP and Tricare, pays about half of our $3 trillion healthcare bill.
It was perfect. 50% is a nice round number. $3 trillion is incomprehensibly large. Half of that prompts the desired ‘Holy cow’ response.
Well, it turns out that my simple, symmetrical 50% number is wrong.
It is worse than I thought.
A recent study found that when all forms of government spending at all levels (federal, state and local) are factored in and we also consider things like healthcare coverage for government employees, the actual number is 64%. Yep, taxpayers fund almost two-thirds of our entire healthcare bill.
Is it any wonder why our ‘market’ doesn’t behave like a ‘market?’
Bernie, it turns out we’re much closer to your vision than we’d like to admit.