Political Correction

CPR's "Doctor's Office" Could Make You Sick

June 25, 2009 5:05 pm ET

On June 25, 2009, Conservatives for Patients Rights released a new ad titled "Doctor's Office." The ad is meant to run both nationally and in 14 targeted states through the July 4th Congressional recess.  Like the "Hammer" ad released at the same time, "Doctor's Office" is full of misleading statements.

CPR Ad "Doctor's Office":

"Today, you make the medical decisions that are best for you, without government interference.

But if Congress passes a government-run health plan, you could end up with government bureaucrats taking away your choices, getting in-between you and your doctor, and your personal medical decisions.

It's not too late to put patients first.

Tell Senators Lincoln and Pryor to put patients first and say 'no' to a government-run health care plan." [CPR Ad "Doctor's Office" via YouTube, accessed 6/25/09]

Actually, Americans Are Often Prevented From Taking Control Over Their Own Health Care

Major Insurance Companies Pay For Access To Private Medical Information.  According to a Business Week report: "Most consumers and even many insurance agents are unaware that Humana, UnitedHealth Group, Aetna (AET), Blue Cross plans, and other insurance giants have ready access to applicants' prescription histories. These online reports, available in seconds from a pair of little-known intermediary companies at a cost of only about $15 per search, typically include voluminous information going back five years on dosage, refills, and possible medical conditions. The reports also provide a numerical score predicting what a person may cost an insurer in the future." [Business Week, 7/23/08, emphasis added]

Insurers Use The Data To Deny Coverage And To Charge Higher Premiums.  According to a Business Week report: "Two-thirds of all health insurers are using prescription data-not only to deny coverage to individuals and families but also to charge some customers higher premiums or exclude certain medical conditions from policies, according to agents and others in the industry. Some carriers are also using the data to charge small employers higher group rates." [Business Week, 7/23/08]

Common Diseases And Conditions Are Often Reasons For Coverage Denial.  The Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune reported, "in Minnesota, the most common reasons for denial are obesity, mental health conditions, hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. But there are less well-known reasons insurers consider on a case-by-case basis: chemical dependency, allergies that require costly injectable drugs, a previous C-section, previous use of infertility medicine or something as simple as being pregnant." [Star Tribune, 1/10/09]

A Larger Government Role In Health Care Would Provide More Choices For Americans

"A Public Plan Would Provide An Essential Option" For Americans.  Harold Pollack, public health policy researcher at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration and faculty chair of the Center for Health Administration Studies, wrote in an op-ed: "A public plan would provide an essential option--and an equally essential backup--for millions of Americans living with chronic illnesses or disabilities." [The New Republic, 3/10/09; emphasis added]

Only A Few Insurance Companies Dominate The Market, Leaving Americans With Limited Choices In Health Care. According to the American Medical Association, 94 percent of United States health care markets are considered highly concentrated, meaning that one company or a small group of companies control a great deal of the market. [American Medical Association, "Competition in Health Insurance," 2008 Update]

When Given The Choice, Americans WANT Government To Have A Role In Health Care

More Than 70% Of Americans Polled Want An Increased Governmental Role In Health Care.  According to CNN, "seventy-two percent of those questioned in recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey say they favor increasing the federal government's influence over the country's health care system in an attempt to lower costs and provide health care coverage to more Americans, with 27 percent opposing such a move." [CNN.com, 3/5/09]

More Than 60% Of Americans Think The Federal Government "Should Guarantee" Health Care For All Americans.  When asked, "Do you think the federal government should guarantee health care for all Americans, or don't you think so?" during a CNN/Opinion Research poll, a majority of Americans, 62%, said "should guarantee," 38% said "don't think so," and 1% "unsure." [CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll, 5/14-17/09]

Update: David Weigel of the Washington Independent has this to say about the ad:

"The health care multi-millionaire's group, Conservatives for Patients' Rights, is going on the air in 11 states, targeting 14 senators (12 Democrats and two Republicans) with pretty standard attacks on government waste and the threat of bureaucrats interfering in medical decisions.

The list of targets is a little bit surprising. Eight of them represent states carried by President Obama in 2008. Only two of them, Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), are currently fending off potential re-election challengers in 2010.

And the ads are not, err, the slickest pieces of filmmaking in history."

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