April Fools….Data Driven Analysis


I have always thought that THCB almost always had an April fools post. I mean never on the Epic scale–today they’re merging with the other Epic, the Fornite gang–but most years I’d have said we had one. So in an effort to avoid the work I should be doing I went back to to archives to look and find the truth.

THCB started in August 2003 and in April 2005 the “tradition” started with this very worthy & not very clever April Fool about how George W Bush had signed national health care into law. The nothing more April Foolish until 2009 when then TCHB editor John Irvine wrote a piece about me joining Cato.

I got going on the whole thing in 2010 when just after the ACA was passed I declared that THCB and all its various contributors were finding other stuff to do. (They’re all basically back on #THCBGang these days!). The theory was that health care was now solved and we were going to cover fly fishing and renewable energy. If I had just bought that Tesla stock…

So now we were getting into the swing of it and yet no more fools for 4 years! The next one was a goodie though. At the time I was railing against the term mHealth which was battling my preferred term Health 2.0 as the definitional term for the sector. Neither term realized that “digital health” was winning. I explained that we were renaming Health 2.0 “mHealth & Associates” and that employees were going to be referred to as mHealth Ass. and Indu thought I was the “biggest mHealth Ass”. The wonderful coda to this is about 3 weeks later Indu and I met our then most important client, Holly Potter at Kaiser Permanente. She asked us when the name change was happening!! I still tease her about that when I see her!

Then another 4 year gap. In 2018 I revealed that Trump had appointed me to run the VA. I also predicted war with Russia in 2021. So wasn’t too far off! Then we hit a roll, in 2019 I scooped the world with the news that Facebook was entering the EMR business….not too far from the truth.

Finally in 2020 Michael Millenson told us that Trump was urging Covid sufferers to only get care at for-profit facilities. As it turned out, given how well so many hospital systems have done in the pandemic, he may not have been joking.

So in 19 years we have run 7 April Fools. Which by my calculation suggests that THCB is about 35% foolish. Which I guess is lower than I thought.

Matthew Holt is the publisher and main fool at THCB

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