Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Democracy in the U.S. Health Care Reform Debate

Yesterday (October 13) I sent the following feedback to AHIP regarding K. Ignagni's performance in an interview on CNN:

This is just to express my deep concern regarding the interview of K. Ignagni by W. Blitzer on CNN this afternoon. Ms. Ignagni has demonstrated a disturbing lack of understanding of the research issues raised in the PWC report. I do hope that there is some other research expertise at AHIP. The instructions given to PWC are not clear, nor is the contractual arrangement between PWC and AHIP. It is also a very significant concern that the names of the researchers involved in the report are not mentioned on the document made available to the public. There seems to be no avenue for questions concerning data analysis or interpretation. I hope that in the future AHIP will be able to fund more competent research.

In other feedback to CNN I deplored the absence of a specific reference to the AHIP report in some of their reporting. There are two issues affecting the democratic process here:
  1. A report without reference or authors is interpreted without an evidence base.
  2. The confidential contract research executed and interpreted by an organization (PwC) with no accountability to show research competence creates misinformation to inform public opinion. Ms. Ignagni, herself paid to initiate misinformation, represented PwC as a "world-class research organization," while refusing to identify the conditions of this paid contract. No world-class research organization would consent to execute such a contract. Ms. Ignagni probably does not possess any competence in research methodology, nor do the authors of the report.

The health insurance industry has acted irresponsibly in this democratic process, mobilizing what the public in general would recognize as "authoritative research" in order to manipulate public opinion in their favor.

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