On Sunday, former Rep. Rob Portman (R-OH) cited The Lewin Group’s new analysis of Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) health care plan to argue that McCain’s proposal “will cover about the same number of uninsured” as Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL):
With all due respect, they are very different plans. But the independent evaluations that I’ve seen, including one last week, shows that the McCain plan will cover about the same number of uninsured–in fact, this particular analysis said a few million more people–but it will reduce costs. That’s the key.
According to last week’s Lewin analysis, McCain’s health care plan would reduce the number of uninsured by 21.1 million and cost $2.05 trillion dollars. But the Lewin assessment is the black-sheep of the candidates’ health care comparisons– in fact, the three other prominent analyses of the candidates’ health care plans estimate that McCain would reduce the number of uninsured by just 1-5 million:
|Organization||Reduction in Uninsured||Employer Coverage||Non-Group Coverage|
|Tax Policy Center||1 million in 2009, 5 million in 2013||-20 million by 2018||21 million by 2018|
|Health Affairs||1 million||-20 million||21 million|
|Commonwealth Fund||2 million||-20 million by 2018||21 million by 2018|
|The Lewin Group||21.1 million||-9.4 million||38.1 million|
The Lewin Group inflates McCain’s numbers in several ways. Put simply, the report ignores the consequences of opening the health insurance market to unfettered market competition, overstates the purchasing power of McCain’s health credit and the quality of individual health insurance plans.