After the Lewin Group released its analysis of Sen. John McCain’s health care plan, the McCain campaign and even some in the media, have used the report to argue that McCain’s plan would cover about 20 million uninsured Americans and save millions:
- Jay Khosla, McCain policy adviser: But our internal estimate all along had been that we would cover anywhere between 25 million to 30 million uninsured. Lewin said it’s about 21 million. [Kaiser Foundation Webchat, 10/16/2008]
- Maria Bartiromo, host of Wall Street Journal Reports: According to a recent study by the independent Lewin Group, both candidates plans would reduce the total number of uninsured by the year 2010. Obama’s plan mandates coverage for children under 19. In the 55 to 64 age range, Senator McCain would reduce the number of uninsured by 25 percent, compared with the 52 percent under Obama’s plan. [CNBC, 10/19/2008]
- McCain campaign: “A recent Lewin Group study estimated savings of more than $1,400 per American family – almost three times the savings as under the Obama plan.” [JohnMcCain.com]
- Robert Carroll, Tax Foundation: “The Lewin Group, a respected private health-care research outfit, recently estimated that the McCain credit would increase the number of insured by as much as 21 million.” [WSJ, 10/27/2008]
But as the Wonk Room argued earlier this month, Lewin’s conclusion that McCain’s health care plan would reduce the number of uninsured by 21.1 million and cost $2.05 trillion dollars is the black-sheep of the candidates’ health care comparisons. In fact, their conclusion paints a more favorable picture of McCain’s proposal precisely because it 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.
Yesterday, Len Berman of the Tax Policy Center, which conducted its own analysis of McCain’s plan, similarly argued that Lewin produced its favorable numbers by “ignoring the campaign’s statements and supplying their own assumptions.