‘Generally left unsaid’

‘GENERALLY LEFT UNSAID’…. The Washington Post ran an editorial yesterday, reflecting on President Obama’s speech on health care. It was not entirely complimentary, and raised common concerns about costs and deficits.

“[A] new study of the projected costs of the House version of reform offers some chilling numbers,” the Post editorial said. “During the second 10 years in which the measure would be in effect, the Lewin Group study found, the expanded coverage would add more than $1 trillion to the deficit. In that case, the cure would be worse than the disease.”

The editorial made no effort to identify what the Lewin Group is, and why its criticisms of health care reform proposals might not be reliable. As reader M.J. reminded me via email, Hiatt & Co. really ought to read the Washington Post.

The political battle over health-care reform is waged largely with numbers, and few number-crunchers have shaped the debate as much as the Lewin Group, a consulting firm whose research has been widely cited by opponents of a public insurance option.

To Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House Republican whip, it is “the nonpartisan Lewin Group.” To Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee, it is an “independent research firm.” To Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the second-ranking Republican on the pivotal Finance Committee, it is “well known as one of the most nonpartisan groups in the country.”

Generally left unsaid amid all the citations is that the Lewin Group is wholly owned by UnitedHealth Group, one of the nation’s largest insurers.

More specifically, the 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.

“Generally left unsaid” is the phrase that comes to mind reading the Post‘s editorial, since the piece relied on dubious allegations from an insurance-company-backed research outfit, without disclosing to the reader why its analysis may not be objective and independent.

Liberal media strikes again.