Obama Health Care Reform and Wait Times Visualization (In Lego!)


The next couple weeks are insane for me, but I’ve been sitting on this idea for some time and I figure its time to let it loose into the wild, spelling errors and all.

First, my sources.

Now for the caveats.

Wait times data are for routine checkups and does not count emergency care or diagnostic testing.

Phyllis Shlafly repeated the line that “The average wait is… the second trimester of pregnancy to see an obstetrician-gynecologist.” It looks like she is using the same documents that I’m using and if that is the case, that statements is absolutely false.

First of all, these wait times apply only to routine checkups (as stated above) and the OB/GYN checkups are “well woman” check-ups. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that a pregnant woman falls into that category.

Second, the average wait time in that category is 70 days, which is really only the second trimester if you count the “Wait a second, I’m pregnant!” realiziation time, which might be OK if she mentioned that to he readers.

Now for the insurance cost data. This was a statistic I struggled with for quite some time. The reason is because the latest comprehensive data available was collected at the end of 2006 and beginning of 2007. This was so soon after the passage of the Massachusetts health care reform that it is very unlikely that it accurately reflects the results of that reform (which is something the study authors freely admit).

However, I’ve search high and low and cannot find any indication that the premiums have decreased at all. To the best of my knowledge, they have increased faster than the country average.

If this is true,  then the average individual health insurance premium in Massachusetts is somewhere around $830 per month.

But I figured I might as well underestimate in order to flush out people who might complain, so I used the non-specific and drastically reduced number of $600+ per month.

Finally, the most important question:

How close to the Massachusetts health reform is the Obama health reform plan?

Because, honestly, if they weren’t anything like each other, there would be no point in comparing them, would there?

The sad fact of the matter is that the Massachusetts model provides the closest real life approximation to the Obama plan that there is available.

They both have a government agency for providing health care exchanges. They both require business over a certain size to provide insurance for their employees or face penalties. They both require individuals to purchase insurance or face tax penalties.

Like it or not, I think we can look to Massachusetts as a miniature crystal ball to provide a glimpse into the future of health care in the US if the Obama health care plan is passed.


  1. Alex Chediak says:


    I appreciate your blog. Do you believe that Romney’s plan in MA was not a good one? I would be grateful to see you respond to the claims Romney made in his recent USA today op-ed:



  2. […] 31, 2009 After I posted my last video on wait times for getting a doctor’s appointment in Atlanta, Georgia vs. wait times in Boston, […]

  3. […] Submitted By: Joshuapundit – Political Math – Obama Health Care Reform and Wait Times Visualization (In Lego!) […]

  4. […] you might want to watch this amusing take on the study (in […]

  5. […] Not surprisingly Health Care was a winning submission in the weekly WOW contest for best post. The following video is from a WordPress.com posting, Obama Health Care Reform and Wait Times Visualization (In Lego!) […]

  6. […] result in wait times.  People in Massachusetts, who have the single-payer system Obama covets, pay more for healthcare and have to wait nearly two months to see a doctor.  They’re not standing around outside the doctor’s office for 50 days, but they are […]

  7. […] winning non-Council post was Political Math’s “Obama Health Care Reform and Wait Times Visualization (In Lego!)” for which I voted. […]

  8. […] First place with 1 2/3 points! – Political Math – Obama Health Care Reform and Wait Times Visualization (In Lego!) […]

  9. You sound uncannily like Dave Foley……me personally, I’m completely apolitcal. After all the current world situation is brought us courtesy of politics. However, I find your video explicaciones very interesting and effective in making complex problems more concise and easy to understand. Love the Lego people waiting for the doctor.

  10. canary says:

    Please consider, your video uses average (versus median) wait time figures. Contrary to the term, in statistics ‘average’ really don’t describe the most common data point in a set of figures. Statistical anomalies or ‘outliers’ can paint an unrealistic snapshot of a data set. For example, take the following sequence of numbers (hypothetically, let’s say these are sample physician wait times experienced by people in a particular city): 1,2,3,4,5,6 & 99. The average of these figures is approximately 17 (which is not realistic picture of the wait times experienced by most folks in the statistical sampling). Whereas the median of this data set is 4 (in which exactly 3 persons had shorter wait times and 3 persons experienced longer wait times). I noticed in the data tables included in the study you used as the source for figures in the video that there were arguably small data samples (20 or so responses, on the high side, for most wait time data samples), as well as several tables which included noticeable data outliers (for instance, several data sets have shortest wait times of 3 days or so listed, and corresponding longest wait times of 365 days).

  11. tech123 says:

    YOU LIE! Total LIE. Wrong math, wrong stat! I live in Georgia and the healthcare there is miserable! Sorry, nobody buys ur sad story……

  12. politicalmath says:

    Well stated. I really liked the part where you provided all those statistics to back up your “point”.

    Let’s act like adults, please. If you have a competing study that you think is more valid, I’d love to see it. Please include the reasons you think the competing study is a preferred source.

  13. mark says:

    thanks. some great infomation here.

  14. […] Noncouncil: Political Math – Obama Health Care Reform and Wait Times Visualization (In Lego!) […]

  15. […] Lib­er­als, appar­ently, see lit­tle dif­fer­ence between a longer wait times with higher cost… […]

  16. Melanie Stephan says:

    The Obama Morning After Pill is going to prove in-effective after Barack screws American over on his Socialist Health Care Plan.

    When American wakes up the day after they are going to be sorry they ever slept with him and/(or voted for him).

  17. raedyohed says:

    A dead thread, but I’m new here so my 2 cents is this video could best be described as unintentional propaganda. PoliticalMath defeats the logic of this video in the text of the post here: “Wait times data are for routine checkups and does not count emergency care or diagnostic testing.” Once the patient’s hand fell off you lost me. As you have openly admitted there are lots of things “wrong” with this video. Chalk it up to not thinking this one through.

    I would like to offer my encouragement in saying that I’ve seen some impressive and straight-forward presentations on your site. I think something like issues in health care, the surface of which is only barely scratched (and not very thoughtfully) in this video, could really use some more in-depth, creative and open analysis. I think the public would benefit tremendously from a more intense focus on the statistics that bear on the economic, medical, financial, political and human aspects of this issue. Keep it up.

  18. sad times 🙁 my favorite neighbor moved back to LA to film for band of brothers. *sighhh* he’ll be back soon enough though!

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