Turns out that not even PricewaterhouseCoopers, which prepared an “analysis” for the tobacco lobby showing that increasd tobacco taxes would wreck the whole economy, actually believes the latest PwC report showing that health care reform will raise premiums. As soon as the organic waste material hit the air-moving equipment, PwC sent out the following statement:
America’s Health Insurance Plans engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers to prepare a report that focused on four components of the Senate Finance Committee proposal:
· Insurance market reforms and consumer protections that would raise health insurance premiums for individuals and families if the reforms are not coupled with an effective coverage requirement.
· An excise tax on employer-sponsored high value health plans.
· Cuts in payment rates in public programs that could increase cost shifting to private sector businesses and consumers.
· New taxes on health sector entities.
The analysis concluded that collectively the four provisions would raise premiums for private health insurance coverage. As the report itself acknowledges, other provisions that are part of health reform proposals were not included in the PwC analysis. The report stated on page 1:
“The reform packages under consideration have other provisions that we have not included in this analysis. We have not estimated the impact of the new subsidies on the net insurance cost to households. Also, if other provisions in health care reform are successful in lowering costs over the long term, those improvements would offset some of the impacts we have estimated.”
Translation: “Looking only at the ways the bill might increase premiums, and ignoring the ways in which it might decrease premiums, we concluded that it would increase premiums.”
I’m not sure whether I should be more impressed with PwC’s willingness to cop to its bogus methodology or appalled that it was willing to put out such tissue of nonsense in the first place.
What I am sure of is that the Republican politicians pretending to be impressed with the report (e.g., Mitch McConnell) are either liars themselves or enjoy being lied to. And that the Washington Post has egg all over its face for running the story on the front page, which is generally reserved for news. The fact that a lobby ordered up garbage analysis and found a consulting firm willing to provide it is not news.
Politico says the PwC statement isn’t helpful to AHIP. True enough. But it’s not very harmful, either. The retraction never catches up with the original assertion, and AHIP is relying on that.
As Hannah Arendt remarks, the contemporary liar doesn’t want to be believed, but merely to have his lie accepted as one opinion, as legitimate as any other.