GMAT Essay Topic 415 - The following appeared in an announcement issued by the publisher of The Mercury, a weekly newspaper. "Since a competing lower-priced newspaper, The Bugle, was started five years ago, The Mercury's circulation has declined by 10,000 readers. The best way to get more people to read The Mercury is to reduce its price below that of The Bugle, at least until circulation increases to former levels. The increased circulation of The Mercury will attract more businesses to buy advertising space in the paper." Discuss how well reasoned . . . Etc.
In the announcement the publisher concludes, from the data provided, that the best option for increasing Mercury`s circulation to former levels is to lower its price below that of its competitor, The Bugle. This has been inferred from the fact that since The Bugle was introduced, circulation has ...
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In this argument the author concludes that university hospitals provide no better care than private or community hospitals. The author bases this conclusion on the following claims about university hospitals: the ones in this region employ 15 percent fewer doctors; they have a 20 percent lower success rate in treating patients; they pay their staffs less money; they make less profit than community hospitals; and they utilize doctors who divide their time between teaching, research and treating patients. This argument is unconvincing for several reasons.
The most egregious reasoning error in the argument is the author's use of evidence pertaining to university hospitals in this region as the basis for a generalization about all university hospitals. The underlying assumption operative in this inference is that university hospitals in this region are representative of all university hospitals. No evidence is offered to support this gratuitous assumption.
Secondly, the only relevant reason offered in support of the claim that the quality of care is lower in university hospitals than it is at other hospitals is the fact that university hospitals have a lower success rate in treating patients. But this reason is not sufficient to reach the conclusion in question unless it can be shown that the patients treated in both types of hospitals suffered from similar types of maladies. For example, if university hospitals routinely treat patients suffering from rare diseases whereas other hospitals treat only those who suffer from known diseases and illnesses, the difference in success rates would not be indicative of the quality of care received.
Finally, the author assumes that the number of doctors a hospital employs, its success rate in treating patients, the amount it pays its staff, and the profits it earns are all reliable indicators of the quality of care it delivers. No evidence is offered to support this assumption nor is it obvious that any of these factors is linked to the quality of care delivered to patients. Moreover, the fact that doctors in university hospitals divide their time among many tasks fails to demonstrate that they do a poorer job of treating patients than doctors at other kinds of hospitals. In fact, it is highly likely that they do a better job because they are more knowledgeable than other doctors due to their teaching and research.