Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gorman: Lack of Insurance and Statistical Trickery

Independence Institute health care analyst Linda Gorman debunks the myth the Americans are dying due to lack of insurance. Here's an excerpt from her post, "Death by lack of insurance: statistical trickery":
If past cycles are any indicator, we are about due for another round of studies showing that being uninsured kills. Headlines will abound, commentators will wring their hands, and anyone who opposes ObamaCare will be portrayed as an insensitive killer.

The good news is that the majority of the supposed deaths due to a lack of health insurance are statistical artifacts. Unlike deaths from government health care, which has been extensively documented to cause harm to the seriously ill, the elderly, and the newborn, the deaths due to a lack of health insurance are usually conjured out of data sets using a variety of statistical tricks...
(Read the full text of "Death by lack of insurance: statistical trickery".)

Gorman makes an important point. Too many politicians equate "coverage" (i.e., insurance) with actual medical care. But as we've seen in states like Massachusetts and Hawaii, policies that attempt to provide universal "coverage" typically decrease patients' ability to get medical care.

The mandatory insurance proposed by the President and Congress is at least partially based on the fallacy that "coverage = care". Hence, it's crucially important that analysts like Gorman are speaking out to challenge that fallacy.