Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bogus Mortality Statistics on Health Care

By now, you should know that anyone touting "health care reform" (i.e., Obamacare) is lying about who dies due to lack of insurance. The reason they lie is because there's no verifiable way of tracking whose death is actually caused because they "couldn't" (as opposed to wouldn't) go to the doctor because they didn't want to pay the office visit.

Michelle Malkin has a terrific post up addressing the problems and outright lies associated with the "studies" on this subject, starting with the fact that the authors are not impartial scientists bent on discovering the truth about the uninsured, but lobbyists who want Obamacare.

Worse, though, is the shoddy research and questionable methods used in these studies to come to conclusions they want.

Two of the co-authors, Drs. David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler, are avowed government-run health care activists. Himmelstein co-founded Physicians for a National Health Program, which bills itself as the “the only national physician organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to implementing a single-payer national health program.” Woolhandler is a co-founder and served as secretary of the group.

Sounding more like a organizer than a disinterested scientist, Dr. Woolhandler assailed the current health reform legislation in Congress for not going far enough: “Politicians are protecting insurance industry profits by sacrificing American lives.”

So, how did these political doctors come up with the 44,000 figure? They used data from a health survey conducted between 1988 and 1994. The questionnaires asked a sample of 9,000 participants if they were insured and how they rated their own health. The federal Centers for Disease Control tracked the deaths of people in the sample group through the year 2000. Drs. Himmelstein, Woolhandler, and company then crunched the numbers and attributed deaths to lack of health insurance for all the participants who initially self-reported that they had no insurance and then died for any reason over the 12-year tracking period.

At no time did the original researchers or the single-payer activists who piggy-backed off their data ever verify whether the supposed casualties of America’s callous health care system had insurance or not. In fact, here is what the report actually says:

“Our study has several limitations,” the authors concede. The survey data they used “assessed health insurance at a single point in time and did not validate self-reported insurance status. We were unable to measure the effect of gaining or losing coverage after the interview.” Himmelstein et al. simply assumed that point-in-time uninsurance translates into perpetual uninsurance – and that any health calamities that result can and must be blamed on being uninsured.

Another caveat you won’t see on Rep. Grayson’s memorial to the dubious dead: The single-payer advocate-authors also conceded in their study limitations section that “earlier population-based surveys that did validate insurance status found that between 7% and 11% of those initially recorded as being uninsured were misclassified. If present, such misclassification might dilute the true effect of uninsurance in our sample.”

To boil it all down in plain English: The single-payer scientists had no way of assessing whether the survey participants received insurance coverage between the time they answered the questionnaires and the time they died. They had no way of assessing whether the deaths could have been averted with health insurance coverage. A significant portion of those classified as “uninsured” may not have even been uninsured, based on past studies that actually did verify insurance status. But the Himmelstein team just took the rate of uninsurance from the original study (3.3 percent), applied it to census data, and voila: more than 44,000 Americans are dying from lack of insurance.

I've discussed the bogus 18,000 people die per year due to lack of insurance figure, as well, pointing out that the death toll includes people who have longterm diseases like diabetes or heart disease, things which don't kill you just because you don't have a HumanaCare plan. These shills have to inflate the number of people harmed because they don't have insurance, since the realy "death toll" would be considerably lower. The fact that they are including in the uninsured anyone who's ever been uninsured, whether it's for a month or 20 years, also shows their desperation. But as with Democrats hellbent to push through a public option, the ends justify the means for these people.