Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Where Not to Go for Analysis of the Candidates' Health Care Plans

The New York Times has just published a horrendous article about the candidates' health care plans. The writer, Kevin Sack, takes the attitude that because there are different estimates of costs and effects on coverage, none of them can be believed. It never seems to occur to Mr. Sack that it's the job of a policy journalist to sort through the competing estimates.

What he should have done is to toss in the trash can the analysis that was paid for by the McCain campaign and then sift through the two respected, non-partisan analyses of the plans to get to the essentials. There is the Lewin Group's report and the health care section of the Tax Policy Center's analysis of their tax plans (executive summary and complete report.) The Lewin Group's site even has a helpful Powerpoint which summarizes things for busy journalists with no time to read or think.

Update: This post from Think Progress points out that the Lewin Group's estimates of changes in coverage under the McCain plan are very different from those of the TPC analysis and two other analyses: the Health Affairs article and another study by the Commonwealth Fund. The post includes a table comparing the different estimates--exactly the kind of information it would have been useful to have in the NY Times article.

No comments: