Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 22, 2009

THOSE CANADIAN HIP REPLACEMENTS.... Long-time regulars may know I have quite a few "conversation enders." These are comments that lead you to know, the moment you hear them, that the writer/speaker is either clueless or intellectually dishonest, and there's really no reason to engage the person in a serious dialog.

We all have them. When I hear, "Tax cuts are fiscally responsible because they pay for themselves," it's a conversation ender. When I hear, "Evolution is just a theory," it's a conversation ender. When someone says, "Global warming can't be real because it's cold outside," it's a conversation ender. More recently, references to "death panels," Democrats' similarities to Nazis, or questions about the president's birthplace are automatic conversation enders.

But one of the all-time classic conversation enders is the belief that seniors can't get hip-replacement surgeries in Canada. Here's Rep. Todd Akin (R) of Missouri on the House floor yesterday:

"I just hit 62, and I was just reading that in Canada [if] I got a bad hip I wouldn't be able to get that hip replacement that [Rep. Dan Lungren] got, because I'm too old! I'm an old geezer now and it's not worth a government bureaucrat to pay me to get my hip fixed."

This is comically wrong, and it's been debunked over and over again. For one thing, the comparison itself is nonsensical, since Democrats aren't proposing a Canadian-style system.

But more important is the fact that seniors in Canada get hip-replacement surgeries all the time: "'At least 63 percent of hip replacements performed in Canada last year...were on patients age 65 or older.' In 2006-2007, an additional 1,577 hip replacement surgeries were performed in Canada on patients over 85."

As it turns out, just a few months ago, Rep. Roy Blunt, Akin's fellow Missouri Republican, made the identical claim. When it was proven false, Blunt walked it back and vowed not to repeat the bogus claim again.

If only Todd Akin paid closer attention.

Update: Paul Krugman takes this a couple of steps further, adding some socialized-medicinal details that I'd overlooked.

Steve Benen 11:15 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (44)

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Comments

The republican party of today is nothing but a group of unhinged crackpots angry at the world.

Posted by: Patrick on October 22, 2009 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Channeling Ronnie Reagan: "There you go again, Steve!"

- muddying the debate with Inconvienient Facts. . .

Posted by: DAY on October 22, 2009 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

A long time ago in a school far away I was taught the theory of evolution. I never knew that it had been proven to be the law of evolution. Did Obama or Bush do this?

Posted by: TruthPolitik on October 22, 2009 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

"I'm an old geezer now and it's not worth a government bureaucrat to pay me to get my hip fixed." - Todd Akin (R) of Missouri

I agree, he isn't worth the expense but is the point he wants to make?

Posted by: Kevin on October 22, 2009 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

What Republicans need — and I'm really, really afraid that they will NOT get this — are brain replacements.

Yours Crankily,

Posted by: The New York Crank on October 22, 2009 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

I suppose Todd Akin thinks you can just stumble into an emergency room in America and get a hip transplant.

Posted by: DR on October 22, 2009 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Truthpolitik: Yes, you are right regarding the "theory" of evolution, at least as defined by the scientific method. By that same standard, creationism and its ilk barely rise to the definition of hypothesis. And, of course, "the hypothesis of creationism" doesn't quite have the same ring. The conversation-ender Steve is likely referring to is the comment that evolution is JUST a theory; usually posed by people who are JUST idiots who couldn't define, much less consistently apply, the scientific method by which evolution is (rightly) called a theory.

Posted by: artsmith on October 22, 2009 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

The biggest conversation ended for me now is: "I saw it on Glenn Beck."

Posted by: NHCt on October 22, 2009 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

As Huey Lewis sings, "It's hip to be square", or in this case, square headed like a building block that lacks a brain.

Posted by: Dave on October 22, 2009 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Another conversation-ender for me is: Obama has sold us out.

Posted by: cmac on October 22, 2009 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

It is not so much Blunt claims he won't say it again, it is that it is just Akin's turn to say it. I'm sure they have a bucket full of idiocies they draw from each week;>

And gravity is just a theory;>

Posted by: martin on October 22, 2009 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

For years, I used to live next to West Virginia and heard the never-ending schpeels/jokes about West Virginians. Now, I've been living next to Missouri for over a decade. I read their newspapers, listen to the leaders, got to know some Missourians.

West Virginia should feel good about itself, becasue in my book, Missouri is the new West Virginia and there isnt a week which goes by, that doesnt validate this bias.

Posted by: dcrolg on October 22, 2009 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, evolution is just a theory. One with a very large amount of evidence backing it up, but it is just a theory. As is gravity, and relativity, and a host of other scientific theories.
But, I do agree, most often it is an ender.

Posted by: newtons.third on October 22, 2009 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

How can Todd Akin pay attention when he's so stupid ?

Posted by: rbe1 on October 22, 2009 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Every day I read these posts and everyday I become more and more convinced that Democrats are absolutely perfect, never, ever making a single mistake. It must be a very special group of individuals in this party. I wish the folks in my company could go a single week without making so much as a small mistake. How do the Dems do it? According to Political Animal there hasn't been one mention of any mistake or hick-up with the Democratic party. At this rate it won't be long before this country is back on track and we see a trickle down affect of all of us becoming perfect.
Congrats to the Dem party on a successful first 10 months.....especially you Mister Obama, you can do no wrong.

Posted by: on the fence on October 22, 2009 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

"I just hit 62, and I was just reading that in Canada [if] I got a bad hip I wouldn't be able to get that hip replacement that [Rep. Dan Lungren] got..

Stop right there. Did anyone consider how Rep. Lungren paid for his surgery, or if it was performed at Walter Reed or another military/government hospital. And was he previously examined by one of the top-notch physicians who are always on call for the congressmen who get great healthcare while fighting to deny it to their constituents?

Open a window, the irony is getting thick.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on October 22, 2009 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Hey newtons.third:
Every "proven" scientific theory is only a theory, and remains so until inevitably disproved by succeeding theories. Consequently, evolution and gravity are on an equal footing. It isn't just a host of other theories, it's absolutely all of them. The scepticism about evolution isn't the ender, it's the absolute ignorance of the methodology of science which makes the non-believers not worth engaging. You cannot argue with ignorance which wishes to remain ignorance.

Posted by: rbe1 on October 22, 2009 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Every day I read these posts and everyday I become more and more convinced that Democrats are absolutely perfect, never, ever making a single mistake.

then you don't know how to read or you completely ignored the post just below where Dem Senator Landrieu was criticized regarding her blatant double standard re "government run" healthcare.
I guess that wasn't the "right" kind of criticism for you.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on October 22, 2009 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

As is gravity, and relativity, and a host of other scientific theories.

Small quibble here, but isn't gravity considered a scientific law? As in, it is one step farther along the track than evolution.

Of course, I have heard refer to evolution as a "law", but only in limited cases (as are most scientific laws).

Posted by: Joshua on October 22, 2009 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

If health care reform passes, Wookies will have to go to Endor for hip replacement surgery. Does that make sense? Is that what we want?

Posted by: apm on October 22, 2009 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

On The Fence needs to go On His Meds and maybe take a class On How to Read.

I keep asking, but no one answers: Can we PLEASE get some better trolls. I mean, really, the ones we get around here are just embarrassing to the human species.

Posted by: Mark D on October 22, 2009 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

I don't believe in your so-called "theory" of gravity.

That's why I have I have this rope tied around my ankle. . .

Posted by: DAY on October 22, 2009 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

The problem with Canadians and hip replacements is the snowshoe.

The snowshoe-walking style stresses the hips so that fixing them is both difficult and expensive.

And, of course, compounding the problem is the sheer number of snowhoe-walking hip injuries.

As for old geezers.
They're just put on ice floes when their hips go bad.

I miss grandma sometimes.

Posted by: Mr DeBakey on October 22, 2009 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Another conversation-ender for me is: Obama has sold us out.

Oh, lord, yes. Usually coming from the same people who were convinced during the campaign that he had superhuman powers and would entirely change the face of government. Their inability to ever achieve perspective is not everybody else's problem.

People who make supported criticisms of specific Obama actions or inactions -- whole different story. I'm all ears...and count myself among 'em.

But I will point out that several of the things that Steve identifies as conversation enders are the subject of a rather large number of his posts.

Posted by: shortstop on October 22, 2009 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Completely off topic, but is Mr. Debakey a Python reference?

Great comment BTW.

Posted by: Paranoid Floyd on October 22, 2009 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

I've always loved those "it's just a theory" statements made by people who have no idea about the degree of certainty that an idea must attain in order to called a THEORY in science.

Posted by: GEM_in_Orange on October 22, 2009 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

i read WaMonthly all the time and i missed all the posts suggesting the democrats' perfection...

on the other hand i will admit a paucity of posts pointing out that the dems can't get basic facts straight...a recurring promblem with what's left of the republican party...

my conversation ender is a comment i see on various other website's threads daily: "fox is the only network that shows both sides of the story."

Posted by: dj spellchecka on October 22, 2009 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

To Mark D. personal insults.....real mature
To Allan Snyder....I do know how to read, thanks....another personal insult...nice. I hardly consider the blurp on Sen Landrieu a scathing criticism....weak at best when comparing to the deserving criticism I see about Republican on this site. It would just be nice to find one website that honestly thrashes both sides of the political spectrum with unbiased truths and supported facts. If you know of such a site please post it.

Posted by: on the fence on October 22, 2009 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

I keep asking, but no one answers: Can we PLEASE get some better trolls.

At least half of them are the same person. Just don't bother with him.

Posted by: shortstop on October 22, 2009 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Funny, my mother had to wait through close to 10 years of pain and disability till she was 65 to get hip-replacement surgery!

Only it wasn't Canada; it was the good ole' U.S. of A. and Medicare finally kicked in.

The GOPers are so detached from reality on health care -- they sound just like so many Louis XVI's prior to the Quatorze Juillet.

Posted by: leo on October 22, 2009 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

This blog keeps talking about these people as if they had some interest in actually being truthful, but just haven't had the opportunity to do the research or something. I'm sure Todd Akin knows damn well that his sound bite is not the truth, but he realizes that his anti-reform positions are anathema to the needs of the American people, so he has to deceive them in order to get them to go along with his pro-corporate, anti-patient agenda.

Posted by: markinnc on October 22, 2009 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Call your Senator and demand your Canadian AHIP replacement now!

Posted by: This Burden Shall Pass on October 22, 2009 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK
It would just be nice to find one website that honestly thrashes both sides of the political spectrum with unbiased truths and supported facts. If you know of such a site please post it.

Here's a thought: How about you start your own blog?

That way, you can post whatever the hell you want about how Democrats and Republicans are exactly the same in terms of deserving criticism, instead of bitching like a five-year-old about what you do/do not see on another person's blog.

You can even do it for free!

Posted by: Mark D on October 22, 2009 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Dear on the fence: I love it when I can send personal insults without fear of being held accountable. It makes my day!
You are a liar! You are no more on the fence than Rush Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity and Fox news, in general. So, if that hurts your feelings, as Mark D suggests, start your own blog and share your wisdom with your fellows.

peace and love
st john

Posted by: st john on October 22, 2009 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

At least half of them are the same person

...who often doesn't even bother to keep track of which phony handle he / she / it is using, so that one identity will answer a comment addressed directly to another.

Even Al never phoned it in this badly.

Posted by: Gregory on October 22, 2009 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Gravity is just a theory. You could disprove our current theory by finding just one place in the universe that does not have the gravity that one predicts using the theory to disprove. Also, note my name. I love gravity and science.
Intelligent Design is not at all a theory. It can not be disproven. You would essentially be asking to disprove the existence of "God". But the belief in God is a matter of faith, not something that can be proven, as that would put God in a box of our creation, and make God subject to our whims. Some demotion from the all powerful being.

Posted by: newtons.third on October 22, 2009 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

I just turned 65, had a hip replacement 2 years ago(when I was 63) and am not an old geezer. Anyone who is my age and states they are old is living in another reality. 65 may have been old when my dad was 65 in 1969, but 65 is the new 45, as far as I am concerned.

I was one of the fortunate ones with "good" employer paid insurance and $50,000 surgery cost me about $1,500 out of pocket. I am now covered by the VA and Medicare, sucking off the teat of the government. Singel payer forever.

Posted by: st john on October 22, 2009 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

newtons.third: God-in-a-box is exactly what the religionists of any stripe are promoting. I "believe" in a Creative Intelligence/Infinite/omniscient principle that fits in no concept humans can state. Once God is defined, He/She/It loses power.

I Am that, I Am!

Posted by: st john on October 22, 2009 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

"Blunt walked it back and vowed not to repeat the bogus claim again."

Yeah, but he didn't promise not to pass it to the next blithering, lying idiot behind him in the Standard Republican Talking Points line.

Posted by: Cal Gal on October 22, 2009 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

And don't forget that 70-ish percent of hip replacements in the US are paid for by the government, through Medicare and Medicaid.

http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb34.pdf

Posted by: Auros on October 22, 2009 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

I think Akin is probably right. I don't think the Canadians pay for doing hip replacements on tree stumps.

What? Oh, he's only as dumb as a stump, he isn't an actual tree stump?

Well then. Never mind.

Posted by: biggerbox on October 22, 2009 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Equally, another conversation ender is "global warming must be real because it is hot this summer (or winter, or year, whatever)."

Posted by: Griffeth Wodtke on October 22, 2009 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

ss a sort of fundie christian type, well, ok, as a fundie christian type, i just do not get all the hysteria over literal creationism. if there is a god (and though i don't have scientific proof, there have been way too many coincidences in my life for them to be simply coincidences), but if there is a god, and this god could create this reality in 7 24 earth hour periods (er, 6), then couldn't the same being also set up a huge chain of events that appear to us as evolution? or could this being also let things run their course and pop in and out somtimes and alter the course (that seems to have happened in a few explicit cases in the bible). and wouldn't a being who could do either of these, or even witness either of these, have knowledge of how it would turn out? i sort of like the first part of 2001, i think kubrik got it right (i'm only half joking). what blows my mind is, what are the billions of trillions of other ways that this being considered before picking out a particular way, and why did this being like this way so much? if there's a god, then however i got to be how i am, i'm ok with (well, i would have liked having a better jawline and less allergy issues). i don't understand why it is such a threat if a being who exists outside of time, and who created time, as explicitly stated in the bible -- this being's word (as opposed to Word, this being's Son) -- i don't get why it is such a big deal why things have to be a certain way. i personally would be kind of let down if it was literal. i'd love to be taken out of time and sit on some ice moon next to this being, in whom i believe absolutely and love imperfectly but dearly, and watch the fireworks show of a galaxy being born, maturing, and exploding in on itself. in other words, i am a big dreamer, and i think god is a poet and an artist and a dreamer too. (also, i am alienated, as i somehow am a fundie liberal. maybe i'm just a tigger, there's only one of me.)

Posted by: bambam on October 25, 2009 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

Please tell me it worked proper? I dont want to sumit it once more if i wouldn't have to! Both the blog glitced out or i'm an idiot, the second choice doesnt shock me lol. thanks for an excellent weblog! Anyway, in my language, there are not much good supply like this.

Posted by: so dep on January 27, 2011 at 7:25 AM | PERMALINK
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