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Don’t Believe the Hype, Take Action Today for Real Health Reform.

With Republicans trying to stall health care reform by claiming that a public option will crush the private insurance industry, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office’s analysis contradicts that claim. There is a drastic difference between the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the number of people who would sign up for the public option and the Lewin Group’s, whose analysis is often cited by Republicans who oppose reform. Reuters reports:

The CBO report estimated only about 10 million to 11 million people would sign up for the public option by 2019, far fewer than the 103 million cited in another analysis by the Lewin Group.

The CBO report also estimated the Democratic proposal would boost enrollment in employer-based plans by about 12 million people because of the mandate for individuals to be insured.

If you’re wondering why Republicans have taken to using the Lewin Group’s analysis, this video might answer your question.

Interesting. Can a group owned by one of the largest insurers in the country really be an “independent,” “nonpartisan” “thinktank”?. Not only has the group been misrepresented, but it is part of UnitedHealth subsidiary Ingenix, which has a shady history, according to the Washington Post.

More specifically, the Lewin Group is part of Ingenix, a UnitedHealth subsidiary that was accused by the New York attorney general and the American Medical Association of helping insurers shift medical expenses to consumers by distributing skewed data. Ingenix supplied UnitedHealth and other insurers with data that allegedly understated the "reasonable and customary" doctor fees that insurers use to determine how much they will reimburse consumers for out-of-network care.

In January, UnitedHealth agreed to a $50 million settlement with the New York attorney general and a $350 million settlement with the AMA, covering conduct going back as far as 1994.

As the CBO’s analysis proves, private insurers should have no fear that the industry will be destroyed by the creation of a public option. Republicans have clearly shown by citing analysis done by a firm owned by an insurance company where they stand on health care reform—in its way. Even so, Daily Kos is reporting some heartening numbers on votes for each Senate seat’s most recent election:

  • Votes for seats held by GOP filibuster supporters: 44.2 million
  • Votes for seats held by Dems who may filibuster: 2.5 million
  • Votes for seats held by Dems who would support cloture: 79.8 million

Obviously, there’s a ton of ways you can slice numbers, but this analysis yields a fairly salient factoid: nearly twice as many people voted for senators likely to support a cloture motion than voted for a senator who is likely to thwart health care reform with a filibuster.

Despite Republican scare tactics such as citing “independent” analysis by the Lewin Group to turn the American public off of a public option, it is clear that the health care system we have now is broken. The best chance to pass comprehensive health care reform is with H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act. TakeAction has been doing great work on health care in Minnesota, and this is from an action alert they sent out today:

Your Congressional Representative is scheduled to vote on it this week, so please call 1-888-436-8427 today.

When you call 1-888-436-8427 you will get an automated message.  You will be asked to press ‘1’ to get connected to the Capitol Switchboard. 

When you get the Capitol Switchboard, you will talk to a live operator and need to give the operator the name of your Member of Congress or your zip code.

When you reach your Representative’s office be prepared to do these three things:

1)  Ask to talk to someone about health care reform.

2)  Tell them your name and the name of the town where you live in.

3)  Ask your Member of Congress to vote for H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act because you support a robust public health insurance option that will guarantee quality, affordable health care for everyone. 

If you want to call Senator Klobuchar or Senator Franken, you can use the same number: 1-888-436-8427.


Photo Credit: Stand Up for Health Care

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