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The little white lies of BJ Lawson

Congressional candidate BJ Lawson spends much of his time trashing health reform. In a recent Chapel Hill News opinion piece he pecked through different federal reports to portray the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as a harmful bit of legislation. His treatment of reform is characteristic of his campaign. Reluctant to tell blatant and ridiculous lies, like the Renee Ellmers camp, he sticks to skating over relevant information and conflating facts.

Take, for example, his claim to be a physician. Although Lawson graduated from medical school he never practiced medicine. There’s nothing wrong with his career path. Instead of pursuing a life in medicine he started a business. But in an editorial when he says he is a “physician” it creates the illusion that he is a practicing doctor, which he is not.

In his opinion piece and on his website and in public speeches Lawson makes similar slippery claims. For example:

Rep. Price also claims that reform will lower insurance premiums for businesses and individuals through state-based exchanges offering group rates. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office disagrees, however, and projects that insurance premiums with the exchanges will actually increase by 10 to 13 percent. Higher costs are inevitable with new federal restrictions that limit coverage options and end high-deductible health plans.

As Adam Searing wrote in response, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that for large and small group coverage average premiums will decrease slightly or stay the same as a result of reform. Some individual premiums will increase because insurance companies can’t deny coverage due to preexisting conditions. That has nothing to do with ending high-deductible health plans. Lawson’s beloved high deductibles will still be with us post reform.

In response to Adam’s letter, Lawson wrote on his website:

Let’s assume that the goal of health care reform is provide greater access to health insurance to those who do not already have it. The CBO is projecting that companies buying insurance through small and large group policies will not see much change in premiums, while individuals buying insurance through the individual market will see a 10-13 percent increase.

Right, that’s different than what he said in the editorial. And Lawson will not say that subsidies are projected to reduce average premiums by as much as 50 and 60 percent for those making less than 400 percent of federal poverty level.

One of the most condescending claims by Lawson is that health insurance is different than health care. I never hear uninsured people making this argument. The truth is that although the two are not the same they are intertwined and inseperable. We have study after study showing that people with insurance get better and more consistent care than people without insurance.

I understand that he wants everyone to pay out of pocket with savings accounts and have high-deductible health plans for hospital care. But many people don’t have the money to contribute to health savings, especially when they have tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills every month, and high-deductible plans without the savings only exacerbate the problem.

So, Dr. Lawson, I hope you will abide by the oath of the medical profession and do no harm. You can tell the whole truth and still make your arguments, no matter how misguided those arguments may be.

7 Comments

  1. fishercruz

    July 7, 2010 at 6:57 am

    You guys should stop complaining cuz one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed give it a try u guys are too hard on democrats they went to college and we voted for most of these people.so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. as for obama people are just tryin to make it look like america made a mistake he has done things to help us and we had a full 8 years of a terrible president and i will be so as happy as ever when a obama fixes bush’s mistakes. You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price from http://bit.ly/9sfoMb obama has to put up with the wo0rld judging his every move and trying to fix the mess we are in we are lucky anyone wants to be our president. STOP COMPLAINING AND GIVE HIM A BREAK. i wanna see one of yall do what he sas done. some people are just so ignorant.

  2. Dee Eldridge

    July 7, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Our private school in Chatham County just got notice that our group BCBS rates were going up 23 % this year, and several other schools we contacted are experiencing the same thing. I can’t figure out where Adam Searing is getting his information.

  3. AdamL

    July 7, 2010 at 9:58 am

    What does Adam Searing’s information have to do with your BCBS rates going up?

    Perhaps you’re confused by what we’re discussing. Health reform establishes exchanges in 2014. The question at hand is whether or not the creation of the exchanges and insuring more people will cause rates to increase more than what they would have increased without reform. Lawson suggests that after 2014 premiums will rise faster with reform than if we had done nothing. We agree with federal estimates that this suggesstion is false.

  4. Dee Eldridge

    July 7, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Adam Searing has always maintained that small and large group rates would stay the same or decrease with health reform. What we are experiencing with a small group (23%) completely contradicts that thinking. In addition, my husband who is on an indivdual health policy just received a 20 % increase in his rate so I don’t buy the theory that health reform will lower anyone’s rates

  5. AdamL

    July 7, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    First, health reform doesn’t take effect until 2014.

    Second, we have advocated for increase rate control by the Department of Insurance to block 20 percent rate hikes.

    Third, once health reform kicks in, if you make less than 400 percent of federal poverty level you will get a huge amount of help paying for insurance.

    Fourth, no one has ever said that health reform in the near term is going to reduce rates below what you are paying today. No one could do that because medical inflation continues to rise. But rates will stay the same or decrease from what they would have been without reform.

  6. WILLIAM MURRAT

    July 8, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Do you honestly think Adam that insurance companies will add adult children to existing policies, remove lifetime coverage caps, and take on sick kids with long term existing conditions all at no additional charges to consumers ? All of these 2010 health reform changes will be blended into the new rates, and they will certainly be increased all across the board. Many small companies are already getting out of health insurance in North Carolina.

  7. Uncle Kenny

    July 17, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    The rate increases in health care premiums this year have everything to do with the bill. Just as credit card companies jacked up rates in the months before the ‘consumer protection’ legislation took effect this year, the same thing is happening with health insurance. Lawson is right to expect costs to go up across the board…this has been the result of every such piece of legislation in recent memory that adds regulation and bereaucracy. (see also: Sarbanes-Oxley)