How to Lie with Statistics was a standard college statistics textbook in the 1960s. It became one of the best-selling statistics books in history by showing how to lie, intentionally or unintentionally, with statistics. We need a new edition with a new title: How politicians lie – and lie big time — with statistics.
Obama Care was sold to American voters as solving a number of health-care crises. We were told health care costs are rising too fast, but Obama Care will “bend the cost curve down.” Too many Americans cannot afford health insurance, but Obama Care will lower insurance costs by $2,500 per family. Obama Care will solve the pre-existing conditions crisis. With Obama Care, we get all these crises solved, we can keep our existing insurance policy or doctor, and Obama Care will cost less than a trillion dollars over a decade. What a bargain!
As most of these Obama Care promises have fallen by the wayside, the Obama administration has had to emphasize the still undiscredited crises, such as pre-existing conditions. The problem is that the administration could find such a crisis only by lying with statistics.
Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) incredibly determined that almost half the American population could be ineligible for health insurance due to a preexisting condition. This sure sounds like a crisis, but the HHS simply counted all Americans with asthma, bad backs, diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic diseases that theoretically could be a reason to deny coverage or charge a higher premium.
So all the HHS study shows is the large number of Americans with chronic diseases that could theoretically affect their insurability. (We do not know how much double counting there is of people with more than one chronic disease). But how many Americans with chronic illnesses are really threatened by pre-existing conditions?
According to the latest Census Bureau data, 309 million Americans have health insurance. Of these 4 percent are covered by directly purchased insurance alone. The remaining 96 percent are covered by government or company insurance or some combination. Government health insurance does not allow discrimination based on preexisting conditions. Company insurance typically does not either, insofar as the risk pool is already incorporated in the premiums, and there are portability requirements in moving from company to company.
Thus 12 million people purchased private direct purchased health insurance on the eve of Obama Care. Insurance industry studies show that one in eight applicants for private health insurance have preexisting conditions that affect their eligibility or premiums. This gives a total of 1.5 million Americans who were denied health insurance or paid higher premiums due to pre-existing conditions.
The Obama administration has lied with statistics! Instead of 150 million, there are 1.5 million Americans, who “cannot get insurance or must pay higher premiums due to pre-existing conditions.” The pre-existing conditions crisis becomes a gnat bite when things are measured correctly. How to Lie with Statistics of the 1960s showed how to fudge statistics a little, not to exaggerate by a hundred-fold. The Obama administration has taken this to a new level befitting the 21st century.
Administration defenders will respond: So what if there are only a million and a half! Just listen to our heart-rending anecdotes of families, who must pay more than they can afford or are denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions due to no fault of their own.
But must we change our whole health care system to handle a problem that affects one half of one percent? If we gave a $10,000 subsidy to each person denied coverage or paying a higher premium, we could keep our existing health-care system and solve pre-conditions for one tenth the projected cost of Obama Care.
The Obama administration has rewritten the rule that the people will believe a lie if you repeat it enough times. Their reformulation: The public is just as likely to believe a whopper as the truth if you repeat it enough. Why hold back: Exaggerate a hundred times. No one knows the difference anyway.
Get real time update about this post categories directly on your device, subscribe now.