WaPo catches health care reform opponents trying to create dubious study; assumes advocates are just as guilty
Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER
In an article about the Chamber of Commerce shopping around for an economist willing to put his or her name on a study touting the Chamber's predetermined conclusions about health care reform, the Washington Post engages in a nifty bit of false equivalence:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and an assortment of national business groups opposed to President Obama's health-care reform effort are collecting money to finance an economic study that could be used to portray the legislation as a job killer and threat to the nation's economy, according to an e-mail solicitation from a top Chamber official.
The proposed economic study by the Chamber is the latest example of attempts by advocates and opponents of health-care reform to influence the debate with economic studies whose authenticity is later questioned by their adversaries.
In mid-October, just as the Senate Finance Committee was drafting the final wording of its health bill, the insurance industry released a study suggesting that the bill would dramatically increase the cost of insurance in the country.
The White House and reform advocates pushed back hard, arguing that the study by America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) was a self-serving document that did not consider all of the relevant information in the legislation.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, the firm retained by AHIP, later said it had not considered some parts of the health-reform proposals that might affect the cost of insurance on households.
The Post suggested both "advocates and opponents of health-care reform" are equally guilty of trying to influence the debate with dubious studies -- but couldn't come up with a comparable example of reform advocates doing so. Or even an incomparable example.
That AHIP study, for example, got a great deal of largely uncritical coverage from the Washington Post. And long after it was clear that the study was bunk, the Post granted AHIP's president a coveted slot on its op-ed page to tout the study.
So ... where's the example of a similarly-flawed study supporting reform that got as much attention from news organizations like the Washington Post?