Turtle Index: Healthcare, Ethanol and Video Games

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For this month’s Turtle Index: focus on healthcare in America. The number in square brackets refers to the source, given below.

  • 4 dollars: portion of the cost of a $299 iPod made in China that actually stays in China, according to University of California study [1].
  • 160 dollars: amount that stays in the United States [1].
  • 800,000: gallons of water per day that an ethanol plant in drought-ridden Florida plans to use [1].
  • 5.25: number of gallons of water for every gallon of ethanol produced [1].
  • 40: percentage of illegal immigrants who enter the US legally and overstay their visas [2].
  • 90+: percentage decline in worldwide shark population, due in large part to the multi-billion dollar shark fin industry, supplying shark fin soup (and subject of the documentary “Sharkwater”) [3].
  • 37,000: number of officers in the New York City Police Department [4].
  • 84: number of countries worldwide having fewer than 37,000 soldiers in their military [4].
  • 14: percent of plastic water bottles that get recycled [5].
  • 1,000: number of persons worldwide who sign up for cell phone service every minute [6].
  • 90: percentage of likely voters who say they are Christian [7].
  • 46: percentage of likely voters who say they are born-again or evangelical Christians [7].
  • 16 billion: Rough number of kilowatt hours burned by video game consoles annually [8]
  • 16 billion: Rough number of kilowatt hours burned to power all of San Diego annually [8].
  • 160: dollars required to run a PlayStation 3 for a year at $0.10/kWh[8]
  • 15: dollars required to run a PlayStation 3 for a year if the user turns off the unit after use [8]
  • 140 million: number of Americans who attend a pro sporting event each year [9].
  • 800 million: number of Americans who attend a museum each year [9].
  • 55: percentage of Americans who think the US has the best quality health care in the world [14].
  • 1: US rank in terms of health care spending per capita ($6,697 per capita in 2007, 20% higher than second highest Luxembourg) [14].
  • 28: rank in terms of infant mortality (i.e. 27 countries including Greece, the Czech Republic and Portugal have fewer deaths per 1000 live births than the US) [14].
  • 19: rank, out of 19 industrialized countries, of US in averting deaths that could be prevented with medical care (i.e all other industrialized nations studied are better than the US at avoiding medically preventable death) [14].
  • 44,000–98,000: US deaths annually attributed to medical errors [14].
  • 4th out of four: US rank in survivability of cervical cancer, among US, Italy, Ireland and Germany [14].
  • 4th out of four: US rank in survivability of breast cancer among US, Switzerland, Norway and Britain [14]
  • 922,000: dollars per year of salary to Leonard Shaeffer while running California Blue Cross as a non-profit [10].
  • 19.2 million: Schaeffer’s salary in dollars ten years after conversion of Blue Cross of California to a for profit, not counting over $100 million in bonuses [10].
  • 900,000: salary in dollars of Norwood Davis when running Blue Shield/Blue Cross of Virginia in 1995 as a non-profit [10].
  • 6.5 million: salary in dollars of Thomas Steen six years later when running BlueShield/Blue Cross of Virginia as a for-profit, plus $16 million in stock options [10].
  • 2/3: proportion of administrative costs of for profit insurers spent on health-care denial [11].
  • 1/2 trillion: number of dollars of our health care costs attributed to inefficiencies by a 2007 report on health care in 124 countries [12].
  • 75 billion: number of dollars wasted compared to other countries, according the same report, due solely to the fact that those other countries have publicly-financed health care [12].
  • 20: percentage of American households where a language other than English is spoken in the home [13].
  • 42.6: percentage of Californian households where a language other than English is spoken in the home [13].
  • 92.5: percentage of households in Hialeah, Florida households where a language other than English is spoken in the home [13].
  • 5.5 million: number of American households considered “linguistically isolated”, meaning that nobody over the age of 14 speaks English well [13].
  1. Economist, March 1-7, 2008, pp. 56, 36.
  2. Newsweek, Jan 28, 2008, p. 36
  3. National Geographic Adventure, March 2008, p. 34.
  4. 60 Minutes Online
  5. Elizabeth Royte, author of Bottlemania, in an interview excerpt on Marketplace, on NPR, June 17, 2008, during the letters section of the program.
  6. Minute Waltz, New York Times online, citing Star.com, May 16, 2008.
  7. AP-Roper Poll, Sept. 5-10th, 2008
  8. Lowering the Cost of Play: Improving the Energy Efficiency of Video Game Consoles by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
  9. 24 November 2008, All Things Considered, National Public Radio.
  10. Free Lunch, p.225.
  11. Free Lunch, p. 228.
  12. Free Lunch, p. 232.
  13. USA Weekend, Nov. 14-16, p. 17, “English Loses Ground”.
  14. “The Myth of the ‘Best in the World'”, Sharon Begley, Newsweek, March 31, 2008, p. 47.

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