Rep. Blackburn Attacks Health Care Reform By Misrepresenting A Discredited Study

June 10, 2009 12:50 pm ET

In a video posted at the Heritage Foundation's blog, "The Foundry," Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) falsely claimed that a public health care option would lead to an additional "120 million Americans without health insurance."

Rep. Blackburn: "You Would Expect To See 120 Million Americans Without Health Insurance" As A Result Of A Public Option

Rep. Blackburn: "From the options that are out there coming from Democrats in the House and the Senate is that you would expect to see 120 million Americans without health insurance if a public option went into competition with a public plan...It is so interesting to me that the Democrat [sic] leadership would displace 120 million in order to solve a problem." [The Foundry, 6/9/09]

What's "interesting" is that Rep. Blackburn is apparently referencing a study by an insurance industry mouthpiece that experts agree is inaccurate and doesn't even say what she claims it says...

The Lewin Group Is A Mouthpiece For The Insurance Industry

FACT: Lewin Group Is Mouthpiece For Insurance Industry. The Lewin Group was "acquired" by Ingenix in 2007, according to the Ingenix website.  Ingenix is "a leading health information technology company."  According to the New York Times, Ingenix is the "database business" of UnitedHealth Group. [, 6/12/07; New York Times, 3/31/08]

  • New York State Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo: Ingenix Is "A Conduit For Rigged Data To The Largest Insurers In The Country." In February 2008, Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Attorney General, announced his "industry-wide investigation into a scheme by health insurers to defraud consumers by manipulating reimbursement rates." Cuomo's release named Ingenix as the center of the scheme" referring to it as "the nation's largest provider of healthcare billing information," and "a conduit for rigged data to the largest insurers in the country." [New York State Office of the Attorney General, 2/13/08]

The Lewin Group Study "Does Not Represent An Accurate Picture" Of Democrats' Vision For Health Care Reform...

CBO Director: Lewin Study Claims Are Overstated. According to National Journal's Congress Daily: "CBO Director Elmendorf told Senate Finance Committee members and staffers he expects fewer Americans would migrate from private health insurance to a public plan than projected by the oft-quoted study by nonpartisan policy experts at the Lewin Group."  [National Journal's CongressDaily, 5/20/2009]

Jacob Hacker: Lewin Report "Does Not Represent An Accurate Picture" Of Any Proposal "Under Serious Consideration." In response to the Lewin Group's report, health reform advocate Jacob Hacker wrote: "In short, the Lewin Group's hypothetical proposal has three features that guarantee the public plan will be big. Whatever '131 million enrollees in the public plan' represents, it does not represent an accurate picture of Obama's campaign pronouncements, or Max Baucus's 'White Paper,' or my plan, or any other proposal under serious consideration today."[Institute for America's Future, 4/11/09]

...And It Actually Indicates A Public Option "Would Reduce The Number Of Uninsured"

According to the Lewin Group study, many Americans would VOLUNTARILY leave their private insurance for a public option. It does not say, as Rep. Blackburn claims, that a public option would lead to "120 million Americans without health insurance."

Report: 119 Million People Would Leave Private Insurance For Public Option.  According to the Lewin Group report: "We estimate that the Obama-like health reform program described above would reduce the number of uninsured by about 28 million people. If we assume that the public plan is open to all individuals, the self-employed and all firms, the public plan would enroll about 131.2 million people (includes some uninsured who become covered). The number of people with private health insurance would decline by about 119.1 million people." [The Lewin Group, "The Cost and Coverage Impacts of a Public Plan: Alternative Design Options," 4/6/09]