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GOP keeps citing Lewin Group study, unholy alliance of UnitedHealthCare and Heritage Foundation

One Hundred Twenty Million Americans Will Lose Their Insurance! The words drip from the mouths of the GOP in their opposition to the public option. Of course it’s all bunk, but the details behind the Lewin Group which produced these numbers are worse.

First Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) released a rebuttal of the Lewin Group study, revealing that the Heritage Foundation paid for study and that UnitedHealthCare owns the Lewin Group(PDF).

Then came a doozy from the Washington Post:

[T]he Lewin Group is part of Ingenix, a UnitedHealth subsidiary that was accused by the New York attorney general and the American Medical Association, a physician’s group, of helping insurers shift medical expenses to consumers by distributing skewed data. Ingenix supplied its parent company and other insurers with data that allegedly understated the “usual 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.

Non-profit health cooperatives are trojan horses for private insurers

There is yet another Baucus bipartisan health care reform story, this one from Roll Call.  While primarily a story about the fight over funding reform, this nugget is thrown in at the end:

In a sign of a potential d├ętente on another divisive issue – whether to implement a government-run insurance option as a part of health care reform – Baucus hinted that Senate Democratic leaders might be softening their position. Disagreement over the government-run insurance option is one of the main obstacles to a bipartisan health care bill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters Thursday that he could envision a nonprofit medical cooperative plan of some sort being acceptable substitute for a government-run insurance option. And Baucus said he believes Reid is now flexible on the issue, a hopeful sign for his goal of drafting a consensus bill.

If you know the history of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and the way the public has been screwed in a number of non-profit conversions to for-profit companies, then you can clearly see what is happening.  Establishing a non-profit co-op leaves the door open for corporate takeovers by private insurers.

An Open Letter to John McCain

Dear Senator McCain,

Enter public life determined to tell the truth; to put problem-solving ahead of partisanship; to defend the public interest against the special interests; to risk your personal ambitions for the sake of the country and the ideals that make her great. Keep your promise to America, and you will keep your honor. You will know a happiness far more sublime than pleasure.  source

It rains down on you like a cold shower, doesn’t it?  These are your own words, Senator.  In the rush of the past couple of weeks, have you stopped to take a look at what you are doing, what path you are taking?

We all understand that the truth gets stretched in a political campaign.  Usually there is at least the facade of truth, a plausible link to the truth, that lets the practice be tolerated.  But you’ve chosen to dispense with the facade of truth.  You choose to lie.

Your ambition to be President is so great that you have completely sublimated your identity and personality to grasp that which you covet.  Your ability to make decisions and stand for yourself is gone.