MEME ANALYSIS DAY: #1

Hey guys!! It’s meme analysis day!!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with meme analysis day, it was first created when I realized that I was taking as truth all of the memes I saw on Facebook. It struck me that this was silly. How did I know those memes were actually quoting real things? And meme analysis day was born. Here I take a meme I find on Facebook making some sort of claim, and do my best to ascertain how true it is.

So let’s take a look at this meme:

Meme Analysis 1

The claim is mildly outlandish. That is, that the cost of having a hip replaced in the US costs $40,364, and that this costs more than living in Spain for two years and having your hip replaced twice, along with plane tickets there and back. So let’s do an analysis.

The first claim to analyze is the claim that a hip replacement in the US costs $40K.

This link sums it up quite nicely.

It turns out that the cost of a hip replacement varies massively from location to location. Prices vary from 11K in Alabama to 73K in Boston. The average was around 30K. So already this claim is wrong, and is misquoted by about $10,000. However, let’s assume that that number is correct for the sake of the second analysis.

The next analysis is, is it cheaper than $40,000 to live in Spain for two years and have your hip replaced twice?

This turns out to require a lot more math.

First we need to figure out what the cost of living in Spain is. For the purpose of this analysis, I will assume that a person makes an equal amount of money after moving to Spain as they did here, including the conversion from dollars to euros. The average income of a US resident is around $51,000 (thank you google). Once converted to euros, we find that such a resident would have an income tax of about 37%. That comes out to 17,000 euros or about $19,000 per year in taxes. For two years then, that would be running us perilously close to $40,000, and after adding in the cost of two hip replacements and plane tickets, and not even including paying for food or other amenities, we’ve totally overshot our budget already.

Please note that I’m assuming that the cost for getting a hip replacement in Spain really IS around $7371, although in all reality, it doesn’t affect the truth of the whole thing one bit. Unfortunately, it would appear that no one was kind enough to actually find out what the average price of a hip replacement in Spain would be, or at least, it isn’t Googleable to a reputable resource in English. I’m honestly not sure where this meme’s reported cost of a hip replacement in Spain comes from.

I think by now it’s pretty clear that this meme on the reliability spectrum falls onto the “Almost entirely false” category. While yes, it does cost more to get a hip replacement in the US, it is not quite as expensive as living in Spain for two years, getting your hip replaced twice and on top of it all, getting trampled by a bull.

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