Club For Growth's Chris Chocola Pens Misleading Health Care Op-ed In Investor's Business Daily

July 16, 2009 3:05 pm ET

On July 15, 2009, Club for Growth president Chris Chocola wrote a misleading health care op-ed in Investor's Business Daily.  Unsurprisingly, he is short on facts.

Chocola Misrepresents Comparative Effectiveness Research

Chocola: "The government would become involved in some of the most important and personal decisions in our lives. And it would bring with it the coverage gaps, quality deficiencies and congressional micromanagement that plague other federal plans." [Chocola Op-ed, 7/15/09]

This alludes to Comparative Effectiveness Research. As Media Matters Action Network has noted, the CER  council will simply evaluate treatments, NOT "become involved" or "micromanage" clinical treatments.

  • Council "Will Not Recommend Clinical Guidelines." The published guidelines for the Council are very clear about the decisions its members will make: The Federal Coordinating Council For Comparative Effectiveness Research "will not recommend clinical guidelines for payment, coverage or treatment." [, 3/19/09, emphasis added]
  • Comparative Effectiveness Research Is Simply The Comparison Of Medical Treatments. According to the Washington Post's Business Columnist, Steven Pearlstein, "comparative effectiveness research" refers to "research done by doctors and statisticians who troll through large number of patient records to determine, for any particular disease, which treatments work best." [Washington Post, 2/13/09]
  • CER Supplements Physicians' Knowledge To Ensure The Best Treatment Is Provided To The Patient. David Dale, MD of the American College of Physicians testified in a House Ways and Means Committee hearing: "The availability of valid, comparative effectiveness data supplemented by the physician's clinical experience and professional knowledge, helps ensure that an effective treatment choice is made-one that meets the unique needs and preferences of the patient." [American College Of Physicians' Statement for the Record, 6/12/07]

CBO Scoring Of Both House And Senate Bills Is Less Than $1.2 Trillion

Chocola: "It turns out that cost is the biggest challenge in President Obama's overhaul of the health system. A recent estimate put the price tag for one version of the plan at $1.6 trillion over 10 years." [Chocola Op-ed, 7/15/09]

House Bill Will Cost $1 Trillion Over Ten Years.  Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic wrote that the CBO scored the House bill with "net outlays of just over $1 trillion over ten years." [, 7/14/09]

Senate Bill Costs Even Less Than What Has Been Set Aside To Pay For Health Care Reform

Obama Has Set Aside $634 Billion For Health Care Over Ten Years. The Washington Post reported that President Obama set aside a "$634 billion reserve fund over the next decade" dedicated to health care reform. [Washington Post, 2/26/09]

Senate Democrats' Health Care Reform To Cost $611 Billion Over Ten Years. Reuters reported that the CBO scoring of the Senate Democrats' "plan to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system has dropped to $611 billion over a decade." [Reuters, 7/2/09]

Individual Tax Refunds Are Grossly Inadequate

Chocola: "Providing equal tax treatment to employer-sponsored care and out-of-pocket payments would be a first step toward fixing the system and making health care more affordable and available for all Americans." [Chocola Op-ed, 7/15/09]

The Republicans plan to tax employer-based health coverage to fund a tax credit to families that is meant to help offset the costs of health care - a tax credit that is nowhere close to the amount needed to purchase health coverage for the average American family.

  • Republican Plan Allots $5,710 Tax Credit For Families To Purchase Health Coverage. "The Patient's Choice Act of 2009 would restore equity in the tax code and give every American, regardless of employment status, the ability to purchase health insurance by: Providing an advanceable and refundable tax credit of $2,290 per individual or $5,710 per family." [Patients Choice Act, 4/09, emphasis added]
  • Health Coverage For A Family Of Four "Nearly $12,700." According to the National Health Care Coalition: "The annual premium for an employer health plan covering a family of four averaged nearly $12,700. The annual premium for single coverage averaged over $4,700." [, accessed 5/19/09; emphasis added]