[July 19, 2007 @ 12:07 pm] David Catron

Eric Novack links to yet another nail in the coffin of that bogus bankruptcy study  perpetrated by David Himmelstein. He calls Todd Zywicki’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee a “must read” for the following people:

Those who remember the endless headlines of “50% of All Bankruptcies Due to Medical Debt”, and particularly for those who have based many calls for national, single-payer health care on that paper.

Zywicki’s testimony is indeed illuminating. First, he outlines the two ways that health problems could—in theory—cause serious financial problems for patients:

Reducing the ability to work and thus creating an unanticipated disruption to a family’s income flow, or an unanticipated budget shock to expenses through high uninsured medical bills.

Then he delivers the death blow to claims that such issues are contributing in any significant way to bankruptcies:

There is no evidence that there has been an increase in the frequency or severity of job loss or income interruption as a result of health problemsThere is little evidence that medical debt is a major causal factor in bankruptcy filings.

And where does he get the data from which he draws these conclusions?

A recent study of bankruptcy filers by the Department of Justice’s Executive Office of the United States Trustee (USTP) … the most thorough study of the problem to date of those who actually filed bankruptcy.

So, once again, the evangelists of socialized medicine have put forward a phony study to support the ostensible need for the government to take over health care. And, once again, it has been buried beneath the facts.

When are these people going to start playing it straight?

One comment

  1. Marc Brown Says:

    ‘When are these people going to start playing it straight?’

    You mean people who tell the truth?

    For start, Himmelstein’s study, if you bother to read it (did you?) does not make the claims you say – as an acedemic work they are entitely cautious –

    ‘Even when data are reliable, making causal inferences from a cross sectional study such as ours is perilous,’

    – they write. Yet you do just that when it is an addition to the evidence base, not some amazing supposed answer (and don’t you wonder why you don’t have answers to such fundamental questions at your fingertips? – should you not be grateful to Himmelstein et al for at least attempting to look at what’s happening?),

    As for the rates of people insured, have a look at http://www.familiesusa.org/assets/pdfs/82million_uninsured_report6fdc.pdf

    where you’ll find that the day to day rates of the uninsured are much higher than you think:

    ‘Every year, the U.S. Census Bureau—in its Current Population Survey (CPS)—reports the number of people who are uninsured. This widely quoted number is intended to offer an estimate of how many people did not have any type of health insurance for the entire previous calendar year. In September 2003, the CPS report estimated that there were 43.6 million uninsured
    people in the United States in 2002. This represents an increase from 14.6 percent to 15.2 percent of the population, or 2.4 million people more than 2001—the largest increase in a decade. There are many people, however, who are uninsured for a portion of a year
    but not for the entire year. These individuals are not reflected in the widely quoted Census Bureau number, but they may be profoundly affected by their
    uninsured status—in terms of both their physical and their economic wellbeing.
    To fully understand the scope of the problem—to know how many Americans are directly affected by a lack of health insurance—we need to broaden our sights and include those who are uninsured for a portion of the
    year, as well.
    This report examines how many people under the age of 65 were without health insurance for all or part of 2002 and 2003. The findings are based exclusively on
    data projections drawn from the most recent CPS as well as the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).
    Based on this analysis, approximately 81.8 million people—one out of three (32.2 percent) of those under the age of 65—were without health insurance for
    all or part of 2002 and 2003. Of these 81.8 million uninsured individuals, two thirds (65.3 percent) were uninsured for six months or more.

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