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Lewin Research Firm Cited by GOP Relative to Healthcare Reform is Owned by United Health Care

Posted Jul 22 2009 10:46pm

The big question would be, is this nonpartisan reporting for research?  As stated below, the company is part of Ingenix which there has been quite a bit written here on the recent lawsuits where New York Attorney General reached a settlement over balance billings by using a data base that did not correctly show the correct customary charges for services, but instead we inflated and patients received additional bills. 

UnitedHealthCare bought Lewin in 2007 and they also do research work for other insurance companies.  image In a related report today items discussed were relative to how happy individuals are now with their current health insurance and statistics found that many are happy, but many are those who never have to use their insurance.

In 2006 Cigna changed their own methodologies for their own employees and they can only get a high deductible policy and many were unhappy about it, which makes me wonder, how many people work for a health insurance company that may be uninsured?  Do the health insurers themselves have non insured workers?  BD 

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."

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. 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.

But not all of the firm's reports see the light of day. For example, a study for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association was never released, Sheils said.

"The nonpartisan Lewin Group predicts that two out of three Americans who get their health care through their employer would lose it under the House Democrat plan," Cantor, the second-ranking member of the House Republican leadership, said in a July 12 commentary in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The Congressional Budget Office came to a different conclusion, saying that enrollment in the House Democrats' proposed public plan would total about 11 million to 12 million people.

Though the millions of people Lewin was describing would lose their current employer-sponsored coverage, they wouldn't be forced into a government-run health plan, Sheils said in an interview. Rather, they would be able to choose between the government plan and other private options.

"People would indeed lose what they have, but they might very well be better off," he said.

Research Firm Cited by GOP Is Owned by Health Insurer - washingtonpost.com

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