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Word from the White House: CBO Contradicts Bogus Insurance Industry Study

A New York Times editorial also pans the latest industry-sponsored work of fiction.

It's no secret that institutions of all stripes focus their communications on certain messages day to day. We thought it would all be a little more open and transparent if we went ahead and published what our focus will be for the day, along with any related articles, documents, or reports.

Supporting editorial: "Good News on Premiums," New York Times, December 3, 2009

There They Go Again: Insurance Industry Puts Out Another Bogus Study That CBO Contradicts

New York Times Editorial Pans Latest Report

  • Yesterday's Blue Cross Blue Shield report is the latest in a series of insurance industry-sponsored works of fiction.
  • This bogus new study contains many of the old standbys of the industry's widely-panned previous reports – like cherry-picking pieces of the bill to ignore cost-control measures.  It also contains a new twist: attacking the independent Congressional Budget Office and conclusions of health experts across the political spectrum.  
  • But as the New York Times points out today, the CBO "persuasively contradicted" the claims of an earlier industry study this week and, the Times writes, "We find this second industry report no more persuasive than the first."
  • As the Times reminds us, "the C.B.O. estimates that most Americans would pay the same or less in premiums in 2016, after reforms have kicked in, than they would pay under current law."
  • So how did the insurance company juke the stats to reach its alarmist conclusions?  Well, most egregiously, it completely ignores the impact that new tax credits will have on the cost of health insurance for families.
  • The Times reiterates what those tax credits would mean: most people buying coverage on their own "would be eligible for federal tax credits that would reduce their premiums on average by 56 percent to 59 percent below what they would pay for skimpier coverage if no bill passed."
  • The paper also notes that the industry study contradicts the CBO on a variety of other assumptions – such as who will be buying coverage in the individual market and whether sick people will wait to buy insurance.
  • The Times’ ultimate conclusion: "[W]e have far more confidence in the C.B.O.’s expertise in evaluating a wide array of databases and in its objectivity. The chief message Americans should derive from the C.B.O.’s analysis is that tens of millions of uninsured Americans can be covered without driving up costs for everyone else."