Disraeli’s Dictum and Worstall’s Corollary

Tim Worstall describes the power of creating the agenda in The Mismeasure of Managing Health Care. The topic is health care and Moore’s latest propaganda film.

On this system of measurement, the actual level of treatment in the US could fall, but the amount tax financed rise: and the US would be declared to have improved its system. Yes, really, a decrease in the absolute level of treatment could mean a rise up the rankings.

Which rather means that the ranking system isn’t of all that much use to us here.

So to add to Disraeli’s Dictum above, I offer you Worstall’s Corollary: you let me make the rules about how we’re going to do the measuring and I’ll force our rulers into taking the measures you want. For the simplest way of using statistics to lie is to make sure your desired conclusions determine the statistics you collect.

Many of the arguments about national health care result in a focus on questionable measures augmented by Disraeli’s “Lies, damned lies and statistics.” These are often used to create an agenda supporting a false premise to attack the US health care system.

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