Today in Obama’s Town Hall meeting (or as I like to call it – his fan club meeting) he mentioned a recent report that shows that 12 million Americans were discriminated against for pre-existing conditions. The report he was referring to is “Coverage Denied: How the Current Health Insurance System Leaves Millions Behind.” Coincidentally, the report was released on the same day as the Town Hall and is available at www.HealthReform.gov. Keep in mind, this is not actually a report. This is a series of sources that have been quoted.
The 12.6 million referenced by Obama is based on a report prepared by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI). A research and polling firm – what did you expect. Who is PSRAI? Below are the Principals of this company:
Larry Hugick is Chairman of PSRAI. He is a nationally recognized expert in public opinion, pre-election polling, and policy research. In addition, Mr. Hugick conducts the regular Newsweek poll and advises the magazine on social trends and politics.
Mary McIntosh is the President of PSRAI. Internationally recognized for her survey social research in post-communist societies, McIntosh is also former Director of the European Branch of the US Information Agency.
G. Evans Witt is a principal and CEO of PSRAI. He is a nationally recognized expert on public opinion, politics and the news media and is assistant bureau chief of the Associated Press in Washington, D.C.. In addition, Mr. Witt was a contributing author of the book “How Barack Obama Won: A State-by-State Guide to the Historic 2008 Presidential Election”.
A list of PSRAI clients include:
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- American Red Cross
- The Annenberg Public Policy Center
- Annie Casey Foundation
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Brookings Institution
- California Health Care Foundation
- Center for the Advancement of Women
- College of American Pathologists
- Commonwealth Fund
- Consumers Union
- Council of Better Business Bureaus
- Harvard University
- Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
- John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
- Independent Sector
- Institute for the Future
- New York University
- Notre Dame University
- Pennsylvania Economy League
- Pew Internet & American Life Project
- Pew Research Center for the People and the Press
- Pew Charitable Trusts
- Project for Excellence in Journalism
- Public Agenda
- Purdue University
- Radio and Television News Directors Foundation
- Rutgers University
- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
- The Urban Institute
- World Bank
- Bloomberg News Service
- NBC News
- Public Radio International
- The Times of Trenton, New Jersey
- Washington Post
- Wisconsin Public Television
PSRAI completed the survey with a $319,855 grant from the Commonweatlth Fund. The Commonwealth Fund is a charitable foundation. The Fund is one of the major philanthropic foundations in the United States today. The Fund is currently led by president Karen Davis who was the first woman to head a U.S. Public Health Service agency. She also serves on the Panel of Health Advisors for the Congressional Budget Office.
The grant details statement includes – “The release of the survey findings in late 2007 will be timely, given that rising health care costs and declining coverage will likely be a major issue in the presidential election.” Yup – completely unbiased.
Now back to Coverage Denied: How the Current Health Insurance System Leaves Millions Behind:
Insurance discrimination based on pre-existing conditions makes adequate health insurance unavailable to millions of Americans.
In 45 states across the country, insurance companies can discriminate against people based on their pre-existing conditions when they try to purchase health insurance directly from insurance companies in the individual insurance market. Insurers can deny them coverage, charge higher premiums, and/or refuse to cover that particular medical condition.
This are completely misleading statements and they’re meant to mislead you. They sneak in one word (individual) to try and make you believe that ANY person can be denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions. This is simply NOT TRUE. If you are covered under a group policy you CANNOT be denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Our current HIPAA Law does not allow coverage to be denied to ANYONE; however if you are purchasing an ‘individual’ policy (you do not belong to a group plan), the insurance carrier can delay coverage and only if you have been without insurance for a period of over 63 days.
As you read through the Coverage Denied: How the Current Health Insurance System Leaves Millions Behind ‘report’ you will see they throw the word ‘individual’ numerous times and each time they are misleading the public in their statements. In addition, the sources quoted throughout the ‘report’ are related to ‘individual’ insurance coverage – again misleading.
Also, I’ve notice how often Obama and company mention Kaiser when they are speaking of health care reform. Including several references in the Coverage Denied: How the Current Health Insurance System Leaves Millions Behind ‘report’. I kept wondering how any hospital could be behind this plan; until I checked USAspending.gov and realized that Kaiser has received $295,413,408 in federal contracts and grants from 2000-2009. Very persuasive.
Talk about scare tactics.
There is a report that I have yet to hear mentioned in this debate. This report was compiled by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) which by most standards is a non-partisan group. The report is “How Many People Lack Health Insurance and For How Long?” and according to the CBO (emphasis mine):
It is frequently stated that about 40 million Americans lack health insurance. That estimate, however, overstates the number of people who are uninsured all year. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that between 21 million and 31 million people were uninsured for the entire year in 1998–the most recent year for which reliable comparative data are available. Since then, the number who are uninsured all year probably has not changed substantially, given historical trends. The uninsured population is fluid, with many people gaining and losing coverage. For example, between half and two-thirds of the people who experienced a period of time without insurance in 1998 had coverage for other portions of the year.
More than 240 million people in the United States have health insurance coverage today, through a variety of sources. The vast majority–about 63 percent–are covered through their, or a family member’s, employer. Government programs provide coverage to millions more people: about 14 percent have coverage through Medicare, 11 percent through Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and about 3 percent through military programs. Roughly 8 percent of people purchase coverage from private individual health insurers.
A more accurate estimate of the number of people who were uninsured for all of 1998–the most recent year for which reliable comparative data are available–is 21 million to 31 million, or 9 percent to 13 percent of nonelderly Americans.
I encourage you to read this report in full.
Based on the information provided by the CBO – the true impact to persons that require individual coverage (which are the people that actually need reform) is 8% of 21-31 million Americans. We are completely re-writing our health insurance industry and it will benefit 1.6-2.4 million people………………
You may have heard me say it before – The reform needed could be accomplished by an amendment to HIPAA.