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.