On Fox News Sunday today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered more false claims while calling for further delay of health insurance reform.  See below for a fact check responding to McConnell’s lies and stall-tactics:

MCCONNELL: Well, what we do know for sure, Chris, is this is a bill that cuts Medicare, raises taxes and raises insurance premiums. We know it’s been in Harry Reid’s office for six weeks and the other senators have not seen it. We should have enough time for the other 99 senators and all of the American people to take a look at this bill as majority leader Reid has had. The only way to guarantee that for sure is to delay the process, allow everyone to fully understand what’s in the bill. If there are 60 senators who want to go to this bill, even though the administration’s own actuary, somebody who works in the administration, department of health and human services, has said it will drive e cost of health care up and that it will hurt seniors.




AARP CEO: House Democrats’ Bill “Includes Critical Priorities For Seniors…Provides And Strengthens Medicare For Today’s Seniors And Future Generations.” The Hill reported on AARP’s endorsement of House Democratic health reform. AARP CEO A. Barry Rand said, “[t]his bill includes critical priorities for seniors – critical – ensures quality, affordable health coverage options for all Americans, provides and strengthens Medicare for today’s seniors and future generations and puts us on a path to improving our long-term health system.” [The Hill, 11/5/09]

AARP: “We Can Say With Confidence That” House Democratic Legislation Will Make “Coverage Affordable To Our Younger Members And [Protect] Medicare For Seniors.” Politico Live Pulse reported on AARP and the American Cancer Society endorsing House Democrats’ reform efforts: “‘We started this debate more than two years ago with the twin goals of making coverage affordable to our younger members and protecting Medicare for seniors,’ said AARP CEO Barry Rand. ‘We’ve read the Affordable Health Care for America Act and we can say with confidence that it meets those goals with improved benefits for people in Medicare and needed health insurance market reforms to help ensure every American can purchase affordable health coverage.’” [Politico Live Pulse, 11/5/09]

FactCheck.org: “We Never Have Said That Seniors Would Suffer ‘Massive Cuts To Medicare Benefits’ Under [Health Reform Legislation], And In Fact Have Done Our Best To Debunk [Those] Claims.” FactCheck.org wrote: “We never have said that seniors would suffer ‘massive cuts to Medicare benefits’ under the pending House or Senate overhaul bills, and in fact have done our best to debunk claims to that effect.” [FactCheck.org, 11/3/09]

UnitedHealth Group CEO Promised “Medicare Will Stay A Profitable Business Even With Cuts In Government Payments…Higher Premiums And Other Benefit Changes Will Keep Up Medicare Profit Margins.” Bloomberg News reported that, “[i]nsurers led by UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Humana Inc. rose in New York trading after UnitedHealth Chief Executive Officer Stephen Hemsley said Medicare will stay a profitable business even with cuts in government payments… Higher premiums and other benefit changes will keep up Medicare profit margins even with U.S. plans to cut insurer payments by 5 percent, Hemsley said on a conference call.” [Bloomberg News, 10/20/09]

AP: Under The Finance Bill, Medicare Coverage For Doctors, Hospitals And Other Basic Services Would Remain Fully Intact, With No Reductions In Benefits. “In its assaults on a Democratic health care overhaul bill, the insurance industry uses facts selectively and mixes accurate assertions with misleading spin and an embrace of worst-case scenarios. … The budget office’s director, Douglas Elmendorf, has said that as a result of the proposed cuts, the extra benefits Medicare Advantage recipients receive would be halved over the next decade. But the ad leaves unspoken the fact that under the Finance bill, Medicare coverage for doctors, hospitals and other basic services would remain fully intact, with no reduction in benefits.” [AP, 10/14/09]

Obama Said That Health Insurance Reform Would Not Cut Medicare Benefits. Obama: “It’s not going to reduce Medicare benefits. What it’s going to do is to change how those benefits are delivered so that they’re more efficient.” [New York Times, 7/22/09]

AARP: Statement That Reform Would Cut Medicare Benefits Is “Misleading And Alarmist,” And “The Proposed Medicare Savings Do Not Limit Benefits, They Do Not Impose Rationing.” The Wall Street Journal reported that, “[t]he Republican Party issued a new salvo in the health debate Monday with a ‘seniors’ health care bill of rights’ that opposed any moves to trim Medicare spending or limit end-of-life care to seniors. Intended as a political shot at President Barack Obama, the Republican National Committee manifesto marks a remarkable turnaround for a party that had once fought to trim the health program for the elderly and disabled, which last year cost taxpayers over $330 billion…The country’s largest lobbying group for seniors, AARP, said it welcomed the RNC’s commitment to protect Medicare. But the group, which supports efforts to overhaul the health-care system, also dismissed the RNC statement as misleading and alarmist. ‘Change by itself is anxiety producing, but as we have analyzed the various bills [before Congress], the proposed Medicare savings do not limit benefits, they do not impose rationing and they do not put the government between patients and their doctors,’ said John Rother, AARP’s executive vice president.” [Wall Street Journal,8/25/09]

AARP Clarified That “Medicare Cuts That Have Been Proposed So Far Would Not Affect Benefits.” The Washington Post reported that, “Tom Nelson, AARP’s chief operating officer, said, ‘Indications that we have endorsed any of the major health care reform bills currently under consideration in Congress are inaccurate.’ Like Obama, AARP wants action this year to cover the uninsured and restrain health care costs, but the organization has refrained from endorsing legislation. Nelson said AARP would not endorse a bill that reduces Medicare benefits. A spokesman said the Medicare cuts that have been proposed so far would not affect benefits.” [Washington Post, 8/11/09]

AARP Said The Proposed Medicare Changes Would Have “Little Impact” On Medicare Beneficiaries. “AARP, the seniors’ advocacy group, argues that the proposed changes would have little impact on Medicare beneficiaries because they represent such a small portion of total Medicare spending, and says insurance providers have agreed to accept the reductions as part of reforms that would deliver millions of new customers. The cuts ‘are about a 3 percent reduction overall in what Medicare is expected to spend over the 10-year budget window. So the question is: Can we find 3 to 5 percent in efficiencies in the Medicare program?’ said David Sloane, a senior vice president at AARP.” [Washington Post, 9/23/09]

Medicare Advantage Health Economist: 86 Percent Of Extra MA Payments Went To Profits, Only 14 Percent Went To Extra Benefits – “Cuts To MA Should Be A No Brainer.” Health Economist Austin Frakt, a professor at Boston University, has studied Medicare Advantage plans extensively and wrote on his blog about his findings: “Payment to MA plans has gone way up since 2003. Did the payment increase largely benefit beneficiaries or not? This is a current political and policy debate, about which much has been written in the media (both traditional and blogospheric). It turns out the answer is known and quantifiable. My work (with Steve Pizer and Roger Feldman) shows that for each additional dollar spent by the federal government (taxpayers) on the program since 2003, just $0.14 of it can be attributed to additional value (consumer surplus) to beneficiaries (see also: findings brief). What do we make of the other $0.86? That goes to the insurance companies but doesn’t come out “the other end” in the form of value to beneficiaries. In part it is accounted for by the costs of the additional benefits and in part it is captured as additional insurer profit. So, do higher MA payments produce little value to beneficiaries, as Obama claims, or are the benefits they fund important to maintain, as Republicans would have us believe? The balance of the evidence is on Obama’s side. In fact, it is a landslide: for each dollar spent, 14% of the value reaches beneficiaries and 86% of it goes elsewhere (profit or cost). Cuts to MA should be a no brainer.” [Incidental Economist – Austin Frakt, 9/28/09]

AARP Warned Seniors Against “Myths and Scare Tactics” In Health Reform Debate, Said “None Of The Health Care Reform Proposals Being Considered By Congress Would Cut Medicare Benefits.” AARP wrote in a myth-vs.-fact health reform website that, “There are special interest groups trying to block progress on health care reform by using myths and scare tactics. Like the notion that health care reform would ration your care, hurt Medicare or be a government takeover. Actually, these are false statements.” AARP concluded about the Medicare claim that, “[n]one of the health care reform proposals being considered by Congress would cut Medicare benefits or increase your out-of-pocket costs for Medicare services.” [AARP, Myths Vs. Facts]

New York Times Editorial: “For All Of The Cynicism And Hypocrisy,” “Medicare Scare-Mongering” Seems To Be Working.“It has been frustrating to watch Republican leaders posture as the vigilant protectors of Medicare against health care reforms designed to make the system better and more equitable. This is the same party that in the past tried to pare back Medicare and has repeatedly denounced the kind of single-payer system that is at the heart of Medicare and its popularity. For all of the cynicism and hypocrisy, it seems to be working. The Republicans have scared many older Americans into believing that their medical treatment will suffer under pending reform bills.” [New York Times, Editorial, 9/27/09]


New York Times: Reform Will Enhance Drug Coverage, Reduce Premiums, and Help Keep Medicare Solvent.“Far from harming elderly Americans, the various reform bills now pending should actually make Medicare better for most beneficiaries — by enhancing their drug coverage, reducing the premiums they pay for drugs and medical care, eliminating co-payments for preventive services and helping keep Medicare solvent, among other benefits.” [New York Times, Editorial, 9/27/09]

Finance Committee Bill Will Provide Medicare Beneficiaries Significant Help in Purchasing Prescription Drugs When They Hit the Coverage Gap or “Donut Hole.” “Medicare beneficiaries who enroll in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program will receive significant help purchasing prescription drugs when they hit the coverage gap portion, or ‘donut hole’ of the benefit. Instead of paying 100 percent of their drug costs in the gap, Part D beneficiaries with low to moderate incomes will receive a 50 percent discount on the price of brand?name drugs covered by their plan. The discount makes expensive medicines more affordable and helps beneficiaries stay on treatments that their doctors prescribe” [Finance Committee Press Release, 9/16/09]

The Finance Committee Bill Will Encourage Preventive Medicine, Eliminate Out-of-Pocket Expenses for Recommended Preventive Services and Incentivize Healthy Lifestyles Among Medicare Beneficiaries. “The Chairman’s Mark provides Medicare beneficiaries with a free visit to their primary care provider every year to create and update a personalized prevention plan to address health risks and chronic health problems and to design a schedule for regular recommended preventive screenings… The Mark eliminates out?of?pocket costs for recommended preventive services for Medicare beneficiaries. Beneficiaries will no longer face financial deterrents for seeking preventive care… The Mark establishes an initiative that will reward Medicare and Medicaid participants for healthier choices. Funding will be available to provide participants with incentives for completing evidence?based, healthy lifestyle programs and improving their health status. Programs will focus on lowering certain risk factors linked to chronic disease such as blood pressure, cholesterol and obesity.” [Finance Committee Press Release, 9/16/09]

The Finance Committee Bill Will Move Medicare Toward Paying for Quality and Value of Care, Rather Than Volume. “Medicare currently reimburses health care providers on the basis of the volume of care they provide. For every test, scan or procedure conducted, providers receive payment – regardless of whether the treatment contributes to helping a patient recover. Medicare must move to a system that reimburses health care providers based on the quality of care they provide. The Chairman’s Mark includes various proposals to move the Medicare fee?for?service system towards paying for quality and value.” [Finance Committee Press Release, 9/16/09]


AARP Lead Lobbyist On Medicare Advantage Competitive Bidding: “We Think The Proposals Actually Will Improve Access And Quality,” Not Cut Benefits. The Boston Globe reported that, “[t]he $120 billion cut to Medicare Advantage is part of spending reductions in Medicare totaling $460 billion to $540 billion over 10 years that have been proposed by Democrats. The cuts would fall on the government reimbursement rates for a broad variety of providers such as hospitals and home health agencies, which could probably absorb them without affecting the services elderly Americans receive, many specialists said in interviews. Though some industry groups complain the spending reductions are too severe, adjustments could be made if problems arose because they would be phased in gradually. Most are aimed at making the programs more efficient. ‘We think the proposals actually will improve access and quality,’ John Rother, a leading lobbyist for the AARP, the large lobbying organization for senior citizens, said in an e-mail.” [Boston Globe, 9/24/09]

The AARP Supports Cutting Back Subsidies To Private Insurers In Medicare Advantage So They Are On A Level Playing Field With Medicare. AARP spokesman Jordan McNerney said: “We are in support of cutting back the subsidies to private insurers over time so they compete on a level playing field with traditional Medicare.” [Los Angeles Times, 8/19/09]

Health Insurance Reform Would Reduce The Difference In Costs Between Medicare And Medicare Advantage Through A Competitive Bidding System. “Federal subsidies to private Medicare plans average about 14 percent higher than those involved in fee-for-service coverage. The health care bills pending in Congress would reduce or eliminate the difference in part by introducing a competitive bidding system to pay the plans. ‘Health insurance reform will strengthen Medicare for seniors, not diminish it,’ said White House spokesman Reid Cherlin. ‘Even under the competitive bidding proposal in the legislation, Medicare Advantage plans will still be paid more than traditional Medicare plans. Yes, they’ll need to compete, and they’ll need to be more efficient, but they’ll still have more money to work with than traditional Medicare.’” [AP, 9/22/09]

FactCheck.org: A Small Number Of Medicare Advantage Would Face Reduced Benefits, But Never Less

Than Participants In Traditional Medicare Receive. “The vast majority of Medicare recipients would see little change in their interactions with the health care system under the bills currently pending. But it’s probable that some unknown number of the 22 percent of seniors, or more than 10 million individuals, who participate in Medicare Advantage programs would indeed need to pay more out of pocket, change plans or face reduced benefits – though never less than participants in traditional Medicare receive.” [FactCheck.org, 8/31/09]

GOP Opposition To Medicare Advantage Competitive Bidding Is Interesting: “Republicans Have Mounted A Ferocious Defense Of The Market’s Right To Continue Burning Through Taxpayer Dollars.” The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein commented on Republican anger at the prospect of competitive bidding to lower overpayments to Medicare Advantage programs: “[i]t is also an interesting moment of insight into the conservative philosophy on these matters. The problem with government programs, we’re often told, is that they are expensive and wasteful, and the private market could do better. But faced with an instance where the government program proved relatively lean and efficient, and the private market expensive and wasteful, Republicans have mounted a ferocious defense of the market’s right to continue burning through taxpayer dollars.” [Washington Post – Ezra Klein,9/24/09]


Pearlstein: The Health Care Plan Will Not Cost A Trillions Dollars – The Net Increase Would Likely Be Only About $100 Billion Per Year. By now, you’ve probably also heard that health reform will cost taxpayers at least a trillion dollars. Another lie. First of all, that’s not a trillion every year, as most people assume — it’s a trillion over 10 years, which is the silly way that people in Washington talk about federal budgets. On an annual basis, that translates to about $140 billion, when things are up and running. Even that, however, grossly overstates the net cost to the government of providing universal coverage. Other parts of the reform plan would result in offsetting savings for Medicare: reductions in unnecessary subsidies to private insurers, in annual increases in payments rates for doctors and in payments to hospitals for providing free care to the uninsured. The net increase in government spending for health care would likely be about $100 billion a year, a one-time increase equal to less than 1 percent of a national income that grows at an average rate of 2.5 percent every year.” [Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post, 8/7/09,http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/06/AR2009080603854.html?hpid=topnews]

President Obama: Two-Thirds Of Health Reform Costs Can Be “Paid For By Tax Dollars That Are Already Being Spent Right Now.” President Obama said during a news conference on health reform: “we identified two-thirds of those costs to be paid for by tax dollars that are already being spent right now. So taxpayers are already putting this money into the kitty; the problem is, they’re not getting a good deal for the money they’re spending. That takes care of about two-thirds of the cost. The remaining one-third is what the argument has been about of late. What I’ve said is that there may be a number of different ways to raise money. I put forward what I thought was the best proposal, which was to limit the deductions, the itemized deductions, for the wealthiest Americans.” [Transcript, 7/22/09]

White House Proposed $619 Billion In Medicare Savings, and $326 Billion In New Revenues To Pay For Reform. OMB director Peter Orszag wrote, “this morning in the President’s weekly address he laid out the details of $313 billion in additional Medicare and Medicaid savings that can be used to pay for health care reform. Taken on top of what we laid out in our budget, the President now has put forward nearly $950 billion in savings and revenue that can be used for health care reform.” A White House fact sheet on Medicare and Medicaid savings being used to pay for health reform outlined $313 billion on top of another $309 billion in savings to pay for reform, and that new revenues would only comprise $326 billion of the funds needed for reform. [OMB Blog,6/13/09; http://www.whitehouse.gov/MedicareFactSheetFinal/]

CBO: Total Increase Revenues In The House Democrats’ Bill Is $583 Billion. The CBO estimated that all of the proposed increases in revenues in the House Democrats’ health insurance reform bill would raise $583 billion. [CBO, 7/17/09]

The Hill: Spending Cuts Pay For Around $500 Billion Of $1 Trillion Reform Bill. The Hill reported on the Democrats’ proposed health insurance reform bill: “The price tag of the bill is expected to be around $1 trillion. Democrats have already tentatively assembled a package of spending cuts worth around $500 billion, mostly from Medicare and Medicaid.” [The Hill, 7/10/09]

Conservative Tax Foundation Was Outraged: House Health Reform Proposal Would Net Middle-Class Families “An Average Benefit Of About $1,900.” The Tax Foundation decried the “income redistribution” facilitated by the House health reform legislation: “[t]he biggest beneficiaries of HR 3200’s redistribution would not be low-income families, but middle-class families, especially those making between $65,704 and $112,721, who would see an average benefit of about $1,900. In fact, even in the 60 percent to 70 percent income group, earning up to $141,101, the average family would gain almost $1,000.” [Tax Foundation Press Release,10/6/09]


Newer BCBS Study Is “Not As Deceptive As The Last One,” But Left Out Key Parts Of Analysis To Change The Outcome, Which Is Exactly What PriceWaterhouseCoopers Study Did Too. New Republic writer Jonathan Cohn wrote that insurance companies, “seem to be trying the same stunt again, with a brand new study. It’s not as deceptive as the last one. But it’s not going to win any points for intellectual honesty, either. This time the study’s sponsor is the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), rather than America’s Health Insurance Programs. The hired gun accounting firm is Oliver Wyman, instead of PriceWaterhouseCoopers. But the message is the same as before: Pass reform, as currently envisioned, and insurance premiums will go way upThe big problem with the PriceWaterhouseCoopers study, you may recall, was that it treated certain elements of reform in isolation, leaving out key parts that would have changed the outcome. Unbelievably–or, perhaps, all too believably–Oliver Wyman does the exact same thing.” [The New Republic, 10/15/09]

Kaiser Ad Audit On AHIP Ad: “Leaves Out Some Important Context…Enrollees In [Medicare Advantage] Would Hardly Get The Harsh Treatment The Ad Suggests.” Kaiser Health News wrote an ad audit of AHIP’s commercial highlighting cuts to Medicare Advantage: “AHIP leaves out some important context. The $100 billion in proposed cuts would occur over 10 years, not immediately, and would amount to a 7 percent reduction compared to current law…But enrollees in the plans would hardly get the harsh treatment the ad suggests. At worst, they would end up getting the same benefits as people in the traditional Medicare program. The government currently spends an average of about 14 percent more on members of Medicare Advantage plans than on beneficiaries in the traditional fee-for-service program. Those extra payments allow some insurers to offer perks such as low or zero premiums, eyeglasses, free gym memberships, dental care and blood pressure machines. ‘What’s unfair is they’ve been getting more all along,’ says Marsha Gold, senior fellow at Mathematica Policy Research, a nonpartisan firm.” [Kaiser Health News, 10/16/09]

Politifact: AHIP Report Ignores Key Facts, Managed To “Isolated Aspects Of The Bill Without Considering The Overall Effects…The Report Even Acknowledges That.” Politifact wrote, “The Obama administration attacked the [AHIP] report as a last-ditch effort to derail reform. ‘I was disappointed to see that the health insurance industry had contrived a report like this at the last minute, right on the eve of a historic vote,’ said Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform. The report ‘ignores some of the key policies that are part of the Senate Finance Committee bill, such as the health insurance exchange, which is really a central feature that allows people to be pooled together to save administrative costs and to lower people’s cost in achieving getting coverage,’ DeParle said…DeParle’s criticism is that the report doesn’t consider other parts of the bill that would lower costs for consumers. In particular, she points to health insurance exchanges, online marketplaces where people could comparison-shop for policies that meet their preferences for coverage and cost. We read the report and found that DeParle is correct. The report does isolate aspects of the bill without considering the overall effects. It does not appear to consider how incentives or administrative efficiencies could result in reduced costs. The report even acknowledges that…DeParle criticized the health insurance industry report on the grounds that it was an incomplete analysis. She said it ‘ignores some of the key policies that are part of the Senate Finance Committee bill.’ The report itself admits as much. We rate her statement True.” [Politifact, 10/13/09]

Associated Press: “Health Insurers Cherry-Pick Facts.” The Associated Press wrote a fact check on AHIP’s study and associated TV ad attacking health reform efforts, with the heading, “Health Insurers Cherry-Pick Facts.” The AP wrote that, “[i]n its assaults on a Democratic health care overhaul bill, the insurance industry uses facts selectively and mixes accurate assertions with misleading spin and an embrace of worst-case scenarios. Take the 30-second TV spot that America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s trade group, was running this week in six states as the Senate Finance Committee approved overhaul legislation…the announcer adds, ‘The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says many seniors will see cuts in benefits.’ Words flash on the screen for three seconds saying, ‘50 percent reduction in extra benefits.’ The announcer’s words are true — but could be easily misunderstood to mean that basic Medicare coverage is at risk. The ad also fails to mention the reason senators targeted Medicare Advantage for savings: The program is expensive for the government to administer, costing about 14 percent more per recipient than regular Medicare…Yet concluding that providers will pass the full cost of these changes to their customers ignores a basic assumption of the health overhaul effort. The goal is to increase competition and reduce the rate of growth currently assumed inmedical costs. If the overall legislation succeeds in doing that, there would be less incentive for providers to pass on those costs — and more incentives for them to compete by keeping prices low.” [Associated Press, 10/15/09]

ABC News: “Health Care Experts With Whom ABC News Spoke Overwhelmingly Rejected The Methodology Of The Insurance Industry Study By Accounting And Consulting Firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.” On ABC News, Jake Tapper reported that, “Health care experts with whom ABC News spoke overwhelmingly rejected the methodology of the insurance industry study by accounting and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.” [ABC News, 10/12/09]

Lobbyist Whose Firm Represents Aetna Insurance Slammed PWC Repot: “They Cherry-Picked In Order To Make It Sound Worse Than It Really Is – They Used The Worst Scenarios To Drive The Worst Conclusion.” Roll Call reported that, “[t]he Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld lobbyist, whose firm represents industry powerhouse Aetna, was also critical of an insurance industry report out this week that claims individual coverage rates will go up under current Democratic proposals. ‘They cherry-picked in order to make it sound worse than it really is — they used the worst scenarios to drive the worst conclusion,’ he said. ‘They’re trying to get leverage, but you don’t put something out there that is easily dismissed.’” [Roll Call, 10/14/09]

Sen. Snowe On AHIP Report: “It Wasn’t Based On Any Valid Assumptions.” Politico Live Pulse reported that, “S

en. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), on the controversial AHIP report: ‘It wasn’t based on any valid assumptions.’” [Politico Live Pulse, 10/13/09]

PriceWaterhouseCoopers: “We Have Not Estimated The Impact Of The New Subsidies On The Net Insurance Cost To Households.” Politico Live Pulse reported that, ““PricewaterhouseCoopers, the authors of AHIP’s report, put out a statement last night that basically said, ‘Hey, we weren’t paid to evaluate the effects of the entire bill, but rather a small slice of it.’ The statement only seems to reinforce critics’ view that the report is skewed precisely because it doesn’t take into account the totality of reform. PWC’s report estimates that insurance premiums will rise faster under the proposed reforms than under the current system… ‘The reform packages under consideration have other provisions that we have not included in this analysis. We have not estimated the impact of the new subsidies on the net insurance cost to households. Also, if other provisions in health care reform are successful in lowering costs over the long term, those improvements would offset some of the impacts we have estimated.’” [Politico Live Pulse,10/13/09]

AARP Executive Vice President: Insurance Industry Report Isn’t “Worth The Paper It’s Written On.” The Associated Press wrote that, “[s]upporters of President Barack Obama’s drive to remake health care are pushing back against a dire report from the insurance industry warning of hefty new costs for consumers from the latest legislation. AARP Executive Vice President John Rother told reporters Monday that he doesn’t think the report is ‘worth the paper it’s written on.’ He said if anyone believes it, that’s a problem.” [Associated Press, 10/12/09]

MIT Health Economist, “One Of The Most Well-Respected Experts In This Field,” Called PriceWaterhouseCoopers Report Commissioned By AHIP “Implausible.” “MIT economist Jonathan Gruber is one of the most well-respected experts in this field–somebody whose modeling has wide credibility, even among Republicans.  He looked at the PriceWaterhouseCoopers report and tells me that he finds that set of claims ‘implausible.’ The particulars, for those who want to get into the weeds, have to do with PriceWaterhouseCoopers assumptions about regional variation. To arrive at their figures, they assume that average premiums in some parts of the country would exceed the national average by about twice the national average.” [The New Republic – The Treatment, 10/12/09]