Why is the Post letting AHIP's Ignagni deceive its readers?

Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

Today, the Washington Post - continuing its practice of using its editorial page as a megaphone for the powerful - provides op-ed space for Karen Ignagni, president and chief executive of the health insurance industry group America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), to decry the "relentless public relations campaign" that "has attacked" AHIP over the study it commissioned from PricewaterhouseCoopers "as a way of discrediting" the study's findings that the Senate Finance Committee proposal will "have the unintended effect of increasing the cost of health-care coverage." Unfortunately, given the Post's coverage of this issue, most of the paper's readers probably have no idea what Ignagni is talking about or how flawed her group's study actually is.

Last week, Jamison Foser flagged Post health care reporter Ceci Connolly's repeated, insipid hyping of AHIP's flawed study, which, as PricewaterhouseCoopers admitted, was based on assumptions they don't think will actually happen. In short, AHIP commissioned a study that deliberately ignored all elements of the proposed legislation that could hold down the cost of insurance premiums, then concluded that the legislation would cause those premiums to rise. Connolly highlighted the study in articles on three consecutive days last week, but never seemed to find space to point out the report's flaws.

Finally, last Thursday, the Post offered a scathing "fact check" of the AHIP report and a similar study commissioned by Blue Cross Blue Shield, describing various aspects of the studies as "too pessimistic," "underestimate," "overlooks," "probably overstates," and "dubious." Of course, Connolly wasn't involved in that article - the Post gave it to Alec MacGillis instead. They also didn't give it the prime, front-page treatment that Connolly's original trumpeting of the report got. Instead, mislead on A1, inform on A10 is the name of the game.

So the study is dishonest. The Post knows that it's dishonest. They've reported that it is dishonest. So why are they giving the head of one of the most powerful interest groups in Washington space to say otherwise?

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
Network/Outlet
The Washington Post
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