Critical Condition

Media’s Bad Math

Kudos to Mickey Kaus (and one of his alert readers, cited below) for pointing out that the media’s interpretation of the recent CBO estimate of the impact of the Reid bill on insurance premiums is totally off-base:

Most of the coverage I’m seeing today of the new CBO report on health reform’s effects on premiums is totally in the tank for the Obama administration. CBO’s report argues (contrary to a recent paper by Jonathan Gruber, the Obama administration’s favorite health economist) that health reform will INCREASE the cost of private health premiums. There’s no other way to read the thing. Yet the NYT [“No Big Cost Rise in U.S. Premiums Is Seen in Study”] and Wash Post [“Senate health bill gets a boost”] and especially Ezra Klein [“Congressional Budget Office: Reform Will Bring Down the Cost of Health Insurance”] are all saying the report vindicates the Democrats on cost. That’s insane. (The WSJ’s [“Some Health Premiums to Rise”] is the only news account I’ve seen that reports it straight.).

Yes, that’s right: We’re spending $450 billion on subsidies to drive up insurance premiums in the individual insurance market by 10–13% (according to the CBO), and this is defined as “success.” Remember when health-care reform was about lowering costs? 

That was until it became about winning at all costs. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)