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Recently, Rep. John Boehner, an American politician of the Republican Party who is currently serving as the House Minority Leader in Congress, released an information chart illustrating the organization of the House Democrats' health plan. As some insist, the problem with this chart is that it seems to have been optimized by Republicans to support their contention that this bill is overly complicated and a bureaucratic nightmare. The chart itself [washingtonpost.com] has touched some nerves, in particular in the field of infographic design, evidenced by a redesigned version and a quite emotional accompanying letter, titled "Do not fuck with graphic designers" [flickr.com].

Or put in other words: "By releasing your chart, instead of meaningfully educating the public, you willfully obfuscated an already complicated proposal. ... So, to try and do my duty both to the country and to information design (a profession and skill you have loudly shat upon), I have taken it upon myself to untangle your delightful chart."

Even better, it seems this is not the only design-insensitive chart Boehner's office produced, as the "Speaker Pelosi's National Energy Tax" chart clearly proves. In any case, an interesting read.

Thnkx Christine and Alistair.

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15 COMMENTS

Both Mr. Boehner's office and Mr. Palmer are using graphic design to further their aims. Their aims are different so their aesthetic is different, as is their design.

Sat 01 Aug 2009 at 2:01 AM
Adam

Independent of whether one considers the message to be right or wrong, I think this is a clear example of visualization used as a means of persuasion, with the overall intent of casting the Democrats' health plan as labyrinthine and confusing.

While as a left-leaning American, I find Boehner's message (and the Republican Party's overall message) terribly wrong, misleading, and even execrable, I must give a grudging respect to this chart, as it effectively conveys its viewpoint, however wrong one might think it to be.

Sat 01 Aug 2009 at 4:43 AM
Dave P.

Dave, if the democrats have their way your skill - IA & graphic design- would not be anymore needed, unless it would support their ideological message. Guess what buddy, maybe you'll be the lucky one to be hired at the american version of Pravda.

I also think that you don't understand the message, i.e. the chart has been done like that purposely to convey the stupidity of the proposed HCR legislation, but I guess that was way to subtle for you. It's called effective communication.

And since you are as you proclaim you are a left leaning and consider in this case the Reps message misleading, when in the future a committee of bureaucrats will tell you: "So sorry but you can't have this medical procedure, so lay back, relax and die" and you won't be able to call it even malpractice since that is from the omniscient, omnipotent and always right government, maybe then you'll understand what misleading is.

Sat 01 Aug 2009 at 10:42 AM
AP

Why not do a chart of the current health care system. Since there are hundreds of different insurers there would need to be hundreds of charts taped together.

And don't for get the big cliff to illustrate all those with and without health insurance denied crucial car when they need it who die under the current lack of health care in America.

And remember to cut 30% out of the chart area just for profits.

Sat 01 Aug 2009 at 10:53 AM

Can a graphic artist on reddit please do a chart of the CURRENT health care system mess?

I am not a graphic artist so it would take me weeks.

IT IS REALLY NEEDED FOR THE DEBATES on the congress floor .and I AM TOTALLY SERIOUS.

Since there are hundreds of different insurers there would need to be some way to represent hundreds of different chart areas and organizations and their corporate bureaucratics taped together.

The language on each of the different insurance companies chart areas would ideally be different denoting the different coding and reference language each insurer uses.

Don't forget a huge part of chart just for the doctor's staffers with all the different billing lines coming in from the insurance company charts.

You would need locks between the doctors and patients with the line from the insurers holding the key.

And don't forget the big cliff to illustrate all those with and without health insurance denied crucial car when they need it who die under the current lack of health care in America.

You would need ejection seats between doctors and patients to illustrate the practice of "after diagnosis rejection" from the system for suddenly discovered preexisting condition exclusions.


And remember to cut 30% big black hole out of the chart area just for profits.

You should also place a large (preferably stuffed gorilla) monkey on the back/top of the chart with the words "unfunded medical care lawsuit personal damage awards" becuase having no national healthcare means every injury lawsuit has massive increased damages awarded to take care of the injured people for the rest of their lives.

On top of that monkey's back should be another monkey with the words "Increased business and personal insurance liability premiums".

I freely give these ideas to any good graphic designer including you Robert who will make it and send it and make it available to member of the house and senate for display on the congressional floor during debates. (I would appreciate a concept co-credit though on the bottom.)

IT REALLY NEEDS ILLUSTRATING

Sat 01 Aug 2009 at 11:29 AM

oh. it should also include pictures of USA cars and products or factories with giant monkeys' on their backs labeled "empoloyer health care costs" right next to cars and building with Japanese/european and chinese flags that are sleeker and devoid of monkeys (which fly overhead as "modern national health care plans)

Sat 01 Aug 2009 at 11:41 AM

Also a whole crowd of doctors and equipment should be behind prison fences with the gate labeled "doctors and treatments unapproved by insurers"

You should have a long line of children and people marching completely around 50% of the outside of the chart marching straight to the graveyard at the bottom of the cliff labeled "uninsured".

And don't forget the big cliff to illustrate all those with and without health insurance denied crucial car when they need it who die under the current lack of health care in America as they are ejected for preexisting conditions or rising premiums or lost jobs.

Sat 01 Aug 2009 at 12:00 PM

I don't mind a good debate in the comments, but lets focus on the value and quality of the infographics at hand?

Sat 01 Aug 2009 at 7:52 PM

For months now since Health care reform suddenly become the main issue on the national agenda. We have been bombarded with the incessant accusation that the English/British form of the single-payer system is about unequivocal--RATIONING? YES! This is the truth now, but it wasn't always that way. It wasn't until the Globalist plan to take over the originally named Common Market, that health care in England started to suffer. In Jan. 1, 1973, original known to Brits as the Common Market. The “One Market” that was created in 1993 states that people, money, services, and trade can move freely within the European Union. Currently over 450 million EU citizens are provided with these special options.

The indigenous British people's lives had already been disrupted by the importation of cheap labor from Commonwealth countries to drive the buses and run British Railway. Then family unification started and illegal immigration and the beginning of spiraling crime. RATIONING AND REDUCED HEALTH CARE CAME TO ENGLAND WITH AN OVERLOAD OF LEGAL AND ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, SUDDENLY THE UNITED KINGDOM FOUND THEMSELVES IN A TERRIBLE QUANDARY OF HUNDREDS OF THOUSAND OF REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS. ALL PAID FOR BY THE BRITISH/ENGLISH TAXPAYER.

In spite of the restrictive immigration policies which have been in place since the 1970s in most Member States Of The European Union, large numbers of legal and illegal migrants have continued to come to the EU together with asylum-seekers and illegal labor. Taking advantage of individuals seeking an improved life, smuggling and skin trafficking networks have taken hold across the EU. The inception of these relative dates in when one of the greatest Universal Health care system, came to a grinding halt of quality.

The system was simple? You paid your insurance stamps and the employer paid his? End of story. The years I worked in the Mother country, I received three minor surgeries, teeth and dentistry, and eye care. WITH NO PREMIUMS, NO-PAYS, NO DEDUCTIONS AND CERTAINLY NO PRE EXISTING CONDITIONS? ONCE I SPENT THREE MONTHS IN EAST GRINSTEAD HOSPITAL WITH A BACK PROBLEM. MY COST--NOTHING! WE CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT SUPPORT THE MILLIONS OF ILLEGAL ALIENS AND FAMILIES WITH TRILLION DOLLAR HEALTH CARE. IT WILL LEAD TO RATIONING ON A GRAND SCALE! AS ALWAYS THE TAXPAYER WILL FOOT THE BILL FOR BUSINESS WELFARE.

CALL YOUR POLITICIAN IN WASHINGTON 202-224-3121 I Want a health care system--even government run. BUT IT"S SURE TO FAIL, IF TAXES ARE BEING EXTORTED TO PAY FOR FREE HEALTH CARE FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS? Support for the bi-partisan E-VERIFY PART OF THE SAVE Act, which will expand E-Verify and protect American Workers! We must focus on the behemoth problem in terminating illegal immigrants-and the jobs that attract illegal aliens. WE WILL ALWAYS BE PAYING FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS, UNLESS WE DO SOMETHING NOW? Many GOP members are against a Path to citizenship for lawbreakers, so we mostly need the phones ringing in the ears of Democrats, who see the millions of illegal aliens as a positive voting block.

WE MUST STOP IT NOW OF SUFFER FROM IRREVERSIBLE POPULATION GROWTH.

DEMAND NO AMNESTY! NO FAMILY UNIFICATION KNOWN AS CHAIN MIGRATION! BUILD THE ORIGINAL FENCE! NO MORE HEALTH CARE OR ANY OTHER KIND OF BENEFITS FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. CLOSE THE BORDER AND STATION THE NATIONAL GUARD. $2.5 TRILLION DOLLARS, JUST IN RETIREMENT BENEFITS? Learn uncorrupted facts at NUMBERSUSA.
Copy, Paste and Distribute freely

Mon 03 Aug 2009 at 10:45 AM
Brittancus

Really, AP, the personal needling isn't called for.

In any case, I think we actually agree on the effectiveness of the chart itself.

Tue 04 Aug 2009 at 3:54 AM
Dave P.

Boehner's graphic is better. It is overly complicated, unnecessarily obscure, redundant and 35% of is useless, another 20% is wasted space, and it probably took way too much money to produce. I would say it accurately reflects what government run health care will be. So it is clearly the one which displays not only the information but its implementation accurately.

Thu 13 Aug 2009 at 5:16 PM
Rob Z

Thanks for protecting us from "misinformation" because we are incapable of thinking for ourselves and determining whether or not the Republicans are being truthful. Thank you deciding, in advance, what the "people" are capable of comprehending and what will "confuse" them. Thanks for showing us that you believe in "transparency." Thank you, Democrats, for showing us rank dishonesty and hypocrisy.

Sat 15 Aug 2009 at 9:39 AM
Ed Palinurus

Boehner's diagram fails informatively: entities of different levels of abstraction are jumbled together, layout is chaotic and poorly structured. The very fact that the diagram can be altered to a much more clear and appealing form indicates that the original is a poor piece of work, either due to incompetence or on purpose.

My only major criticism of the revised diagram could use more assertive lines for clarity's sake and for better appearance at a wider range of sizes.

P.S. I am surprised by how many commenters are discussing not the quality of representations at face value but the purported drawbacks and benefits of the political agendas behind each representation. Worse graphic is "better"? "Factories with monkeys" would be more illustrative? Pointing out obvious obfuscation is "rank dishonesty and hypocrisy"? Nativist spam? Whatever end of political spectrum you are on, this is ridiculous.

Tue 18 Aug 2009 at 10:30 AM
Theodore

this is a way old post, but an interesting discussion. and i want to throw my two cents in:

obviously this chart is being used to persuade more than inform, and it irks me quite a bit that it is satire being presented in the disguise of information. it's pretty much propaganda in that it is almost entirely purposed for blind persuasion rather than diligent decision-making.

i can draw a map that depicts los angeles as a beach paradise just as easily as i can reveal los angeles to be a hell on earth. neither depiction should go in a travel guide or atlas that people use to make informed choices about whether or not and where to go in los angeles. and how to get there.

for me, boehner's chart exemplifies a significant drawback to the united states' style of politics. instead of coming up with something that explains the problem and why the proposed solution may not work, taxpayer money and corporate campaign contributions were spent to have someone draw a funny picture and deliver a zinger to the opposition in public. and we, the public, go right along with it and start up the old republicans are this and democrats are that debate.

the US may not be the worst when it comes to BS political fights trumping reasonable thinking, but don't we ever get tired of the antics? would it hurt to have just a little bit more objectivity when making the case for critical social programs and governance?

Sun 13 Dec 2009 at 8:12 PM
t

You guys just don't get it. This *is* how they see the world. You are literally looking at your government. Welcome to timocracy folks. Yes, it's a word. Thought we stamped that shit out when Julius Caesar burst through the gates of Massillia. But no. You handed your government over to these tarts who in turn sold everything you own to Goldman Sachs or the East India Company, I can't get them straight anymore with Britain going further conservative.

Fri 07 May 2010 at 10:10 PM
Daniel
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