Regarding Oakland: The A's use statistical analyses to determine how to get the best value for the money they have (not much). We should use the same or similar methods for looking at all health care, but particularly at Medicaid. Does Oakland's failure to make the playoffs this year undercut the point? No. The A's know there are no certainties in any enterprise, just probabilities. And their goal has been expressed by their General Manager, Billy Beane as winning 95 games during the season 95 percent of the time. The goal is 95 games because that pretty much assures you entry to the playoffs and would have this year. (Anaheim, the division leader, won 92.) This year, Oakland won 91.
Regarding the Sox: Boston has adopted the same analytical methods as Oakland. In fact, Boston tried to hire Billy Beane away from Oakland. When Beane demurred, they hired Theo Epstein as GM and Bill James as a special advisor. They applied the same methods.
Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner have hired some of the best analytical minds in the business and have spared little effort in acquiring sophisticated scouting software, computerized video analysis and business intelligence tools for mining the stacks of statistics at their disposal. The goal: Identify the best talent available, get it before their rivals do, and then figure out just how long to keep it before it stops producing. It's human capital management on steroids.
For John Henry, Boston's primary owner earned his money as a commodities trader in the world of sophisticated finance, where the use of statistics and statistical modeling is rampant, the use of similar methods in baseball must not only have been natural, but compelling.
Boston now combines the methods of the A's and the pocketbook of the Yankees. It's a formidable combination.
So science and analysis trumps superstition (curse of the Bambino) and intuition (traditional baseball management methods). But that's the regular season. Let's not forget what Billy Beane says about the playoffs and the series. Limited to seven games at the most, playoffs have a too small sample size to be useful statitistically, i.e., it's a crapshoot.
We're a long, long way to the Medicaid playoffs. Spending as much as we do and having as much data as we do in New York, we should be able to do much better during the regular Medicaid season. We can do better while spending more productively.