Thursday, July 16, 2009

Chart attack

Political Animal

THEY DO LOVE THEIR CHARTS.... Republican opponents of health care reform have a new, colorful talking point. It turns out, if you put reform plans into a chart, fiddle with box sizes, arrow colors, and creative fonts, you discover that health care reform is ... complicated.


After a brightly colored chart failed to kill the Waxman-Markey bill, House Republicans are scrapping doubling down on the idea. They've created a new one to demonstrate just how complicated the Democrats' health care reform bill is.

Just as in the case of the Waxman-Markey chart, though, this doesn't actually explain anything. And it ironically begs the question of whether Republicans secretly want a simpler, single payer system to replace more complex reform proposals.

There are a wide variety of arguments against reform, but this may be the most ridiculous. The chart apparently proves that the health care system will be complex. Well, yes, it is. It will involve a lot of people, money, government agencies, and private entities. Of course, I hate to break it to the House Republican caucus, but the health system is already complex, and features a lot of people, money, government agencies, and private entities.

Indeed, if I were to do a chart detailing the way John Boehner's car works, it would also show a complicated system, but I suspect he'd take it to work every morning. More to the point, if I were to show Boehner a chart about the various international elements that went into invading Iraq in 2003, I suspect he wouldn't be persuaded if I said, "See? It's just too darn complex to bother."

And that's the underlying point of the GOP pitch: we can't reform the system because the solution doesn't fit nicely on a chart. But that's not an argument. It's barely even a chart.

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