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Health reform opponents rely on skewed information

2009-08-29T19:00:00Z Health reform opponents rely on skewed information The Billings Gazette
August 29, 2009 7:00 pm

A campaign of misinformation has been waged to intentionally muddy the health care reform debate. One of the most questionable tactics has been the use of statistics from the Lewin Group. To Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.), it is "the nonpartisan Lewin Group." To Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee, it is an "independent research firm." To Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah), it is "well-known as one of the most nonpartisan groups in the country."

So, who is the Lewin Group?

The Lewin Group is wholly owned by UnitedHealth Group, one of the nation's largest insurers. 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.

In January, UnitedHealth agreed to a $50 million settlement with the New York attorney general and a $350 million settlement with the AMA. Do those opposed to health care know the history of the Lewin Group? Of course they do, and they don't care. But you should care. Quotes from the Lewin Group are at best a conflict of interest. Can we move the debate to higher ground and have an honest discussion based on the issues?

If we can stop talking about mythical death panels and start listening to each other instead of organizing shouting matches, maybe we can actually reform health care for the better.

Mark Waddington

Miles City

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