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Ralph Klein has gone and it is time to retire Ralph's World. Thanks to all of you who have supported this venture by contributing material and through your comments. It has been fun.

Should we get another blog underway? Let me know your thoughts by e-mailing me at johnnyslow@gmail.com.

John Slow
January 1, 2007

Saturday, April 29, 2006

SENSIBLE HEALTH CARE # 13 

FIGURES DON’T LIE
BUT LIARS FIGGER

The trouble is that, when liars who figger are caught lying, they don’t stop lying.

Instead they hire high priced research outfits, or some university research chair, to do more figgering and submit a report designed to prove they weren’t really lying. It’s just, they always conclude, that people generally aren’t smart enough to understand their figures.

Few things are easier to do than manipulate numbers for the purpose of creating an illusion.

In fourth grade I went to school one morning and reported that fifty percent of the calves on our family farm had died during the night.

The effect was as intended. Even the teacher was briefly filled with shock and sympathy. To lose fully half of the calves on a farm during the great depression was a serious matter.

But the illusion was quickly blown apart when she asked how many calves there were in our herd. The truth, I told her, was that there were actually only two.

Whenever it’s “show and tell” time in Alberta , whether in the Legislature or in front of the media cameras, our present Premier pontificates that fifty percent of the provincial budget will soon be taken up by healthcare costs.

His Minister of Health, sounding like the premier’s echo chamber, keeps turning up the volume and increasing the forebodingness of the illusion.

Every time she has the chance to do so, Iris Evans repeats the “unsustainability” mantra claiming that we can’t afford one of the most affordable and most widely publicly supported health care insurances in the world today.

When challenged to expose the figures on which these threatening illusions are based, neither Klein nor Evans is ever heard to mention the more than half a billion public dollars they took out of the system or the buildings and training facilities they impoverished. (Lisac; Alberta Politics Uncovered p. 51)

Instead, they hired a Mulroney vintage politician whose mathematical qualifications, so far as the public knew, consisted of laying out some numbers to convince a car-buyer that the customer was going to get a good deal.

Naturally, from this hired hand, they heard some of what they wanted to hear about the rising costs of medical services. Qualified researchers soon found serious false assumptions in his methodology. (see, especially ‘THE BOTTOM LINE’)

Then they convened a very costly conference of healthcare experts from all over the world who didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear about the wonders of market place medicine.

More recently they used huge amounts of public money to hire a corporate outfit called AON that was, not only already in the insurance business, but also had a highly questionable record of ethical dealings.

Now AON says what qualified researchers like Dr. Colleen Flood of the University of Toronto have been telling people in Alberta for months i.e. that private insurance costs more and serves the public less well than public health insurance wherever else it has been adopted.

BUT, for thousands of public dollars, like a demolition company hired to tell a landlord how bad a building is, Klein and Evans have another voice shouting THE STRUCTURE'S GOING TO FALL APART.

The figures on which AON is basing it’s projections will never be made public,

The Klein government has been manipulating numbers and purposefully creating false illusions from the minute the image of our present Premier was projected onto the public screen as a man of integrity who listens and cares.

If the word integrity could even vaguely be associated with the political party still desperately hanging on to power in this province, then citizens would be shown the figures. Since honestly gathered numbers don’t lie there could be a sensible public response.

As it now stands, the only logical conclusion to draw is that the present government is guided and directed by a bunch of liars who figger in secret and then manipulate numbers in public for the purpose of creating threatening illusions.

Blair McPherson.

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