Study used in ObamaCare argument was misrepresented

posted at 2:20 pm on June 4, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Peter Orszag and the Obama administration argued for months that cutting health-care spending could make people healthier, by removing ineffective treatments and standardizing approaches to care.  They relied on an “obscure” Dartmouth study, using it on several occasions as a substantiation of the ObamaCare approach.  The New York Times belatedly discovers that the study actually makes no such claim on qualitative outcomes:

In selling the health care overhaul to Congress, the Obama administration cited a once obscure research group at Dartmouth College to claim that it could not only cut billions in wasteful health care spending but make people healthier by doing so.

Wasteful spending — perhaps $700 billion a year — “does nothing to improve patient health but subjects you and me to tests and procedures that aren’t necessary and are potentially harmful,” the president’s budget director, Peter Orszag, wrote in a blog post characteristic of the administration’s argument.

Mr. Orszag even displayed maps produced by Dartmouth researchers that appeared to show where the waste in the system could be found. Beige meant hospitals and regions that offered good, efficient care; chocolate meant bad and inefficient. …

But while the research compiled in the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care has been widely interpreted as showing the country’s best and worst care, the Dartmouth researchers themselves acknowledged in interviews that in fact it mainly shows the varying costs of care in the government’s Medicare program. Measures of the quality of care are not part of the formula.

For all anyone knows, patients could be dying in far greater numbers in hospitals in the beige regions than hospitals in the brown ones, and Dartmouth’s maps would not pick up that difference. As any shopper knows, cheaper does not always mean better.

Well, sometimes you have to pass legislation to find out what’s not in it.  In this case, what got left out was the qualitative improvements in care promised by the Democrats.  In fact, the study actually shows that cuts in health-care funding will more likely lead to poorer outcomes than better ones.

That hasn’t stopped the Obama administration — and one of its most controversial appointees — from continuing to claim that the Dartmouth study corroborates their claims:

Dr. Donald Berwick, nominated by President Obama to run Medicare, called it the most important research of its kind in the last quarter-century. In March, in response to the Congressional Democrats who would have otherwise withheld their support for the health legislation, the administration made a promise. It said it would ask the Institute of Medicine, a nongovernment advisory group, to consider ways of putting the Dartmouth findings into action by setting payment rates that would punish inefficient hospitals and reward efficient ones.

But if that system penalizes big city hospitals like those at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and NYU Langone Medical Center — which look profligate by Dartmouth’s measure but may rank much higher by other quality indicators — a battle over the validity of the Dartmouth work is almost certain in Congress.

In fact, among health policy analysts, that battle has already begun. Critiques have been published in prominent medical journals, and more are on the way.

That’s a safe bet.  Berwick has already been targeted for a high-profile confirmation fight, thanks to his public statements lavishing praise on the UK’s single-payer NHS system.  His claims over the Dartmouth study will open up a second front and perhaps make Berwick simply untenable as an appointee, just as Dawn Johnsen turned out to be too radical for the White House to support.  If the hearings start looking like an open forum on the dishonesty of the representation of the Dartmouth study, expect Berwick to be withdrawn.


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Study used in ObamaCare argument was misrepresented

You don’t say!!!!!!

UltimateBob on June 4, 2010 at 2:22 PM

Well, I’m sure the Democrats will want to revisit this now that it has been brought to their attention.

myrenovations on June 4, 2010 at 2:24 PM

The New York Times belatedly discovers

LOL, this is the same NY Times that belatedly discovered, 9 years after the fact, that the “Clinton economic recovery” actually began in March of 1991, 18 months before he even took office.

Del Dolemonte on June 4, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Academics,
who have never run anything,
are ruining everything.

Inanemergencydial on June 4, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Knock me over with a government subsidized feather.

lorien1973 on June 4, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Just one more LIE on top of all the others…when will the citizens wake up?

PatriotRider on June 4, 2010 at 2:26 PM

Well it was VERY TRANSPARENT…..at least to us who are in the know.

PappaMac on June 4, 2010 at 2:26 PM

Anything and everything associated with Study used in Obama Care argument was misrepresented

BigWyo on June 4, 2010 at 2:27 PM

You mean we were decieved? You betcha.

seven on June 4, 2010 at 2:27 PM

Captain Renault Award of the Day®

MassVictim on June 4, 2010 at 2:27 PM

Obama and the Dems were just looking at the wrong chart. It wasn’t the cost curve that was bending downward, it was the stock market.

PappaMac on June 4, 2010 at 2:29 PM

That’s why this thing was crammed down on us as fast as it was. We get to find out what’s in the bill after it is passed.
L

letget on June 4, 2010 at 2:29 PM

We’d be better off using Magic 8-Ball.

fogw on June 4, 2010 at 2:30 PM

They lied , they hid , and yes the did it with malice to take away our health care to give the health care system over to GOVERNMENT control .
Wait till the BIG surprise emerges ..AMNESTY is ALREADY part of the OBOMACARE.
How will the government determine if you are eligible to PAY for care if you are an illegal ?
Sounds like DONT ASK DONT TELL to me
Better yet declare you are not a Citizen and the government would be FORCED to cover it up and thus protect you for eternity ……….

ELMO Q on June 4, 2010 at 2:34 PM

It wasn’t the cost curve that was bending downward, it was the stock market.

PappaMac on June 4, 2010 at 2:29 PM

Oh, I thought maybe it was that global warming (sic) hockey stick graph.

MassVictim on June 4, 2010 at 2:35 PM

Study used in ObamaCare argument was misrepresented

I’m Shocked, Shocked!!!!

FontanaConservative on June 4, 2010 at 2:37 PM

I don’t know why everybody keeps complaining about Health Care!!!

Give it a chance to work!!!

/canned libtard response for next 5 years

cntrlfrk on June 4, 2010 at 2:37 PM

Hey let’s exponentially increase patient demand and then reduce the supply of doctors. Perfect. Smart power in action again.

Mojave Mark on June 4, 2010 at 2:37 PM

The GOP should have so much ammunition on this stuff…

I mean, that graph of the national debt exploding alone should be put on everything!

joeindc44 on June 4, 2010 at 2:38 PM

And why should Obama, Pelosi or Reid even care? ObamaCare was DESIGNED to FAIL. That way they could move directly to the one-payer (GOVERNMENT) system. They’ve already FAILED to meet 3 MINOR deadlines. Do you think they’ll meet MAJOR ones?

GarandFan on June 4, 2010 at 2:39 PM

In other news, the NYTimes has discovered that water is wet.

rbj on June 4, 2010 at 2:39 PM

Just wait until the “it will never happen” rationing kicks in.

jukin on June 4, 2010 at 2:40 PM

Is it just me or is Barack Obama on a glide path the become the worst President of all time?

The guy is a disaster.

visions on June 4, 2010 at 2:40 PM

Geithner in particular, needs to be charged with either fraud, or professional malpractice.

This is not the first time his facts and figures have been highly suspect. He first put out a study in the mid 00′s. Saying that it was a near matrhematical impossibility for Fannie & Freddie to cause harm to the American tax-payer and pushed to have congerss to reduce the its capital reserves against risk on the basis of his research.

Gee, that turned out swell didn’t it.

Then in his first budget projections for the Obama administration for 09, he was off by 40% to negative side.

Not 4%, which would be troubling, not 14%, which would be grounds for an immediate dismissal, but 40%! Which is adequate grounds for frickin firing squad!

Geithner needs to go to jail, period.

Archimedes on June 4, 2010 at 2:47 PM

Its W’s fault

the Coondawg on June 4, 2010 at 2:48 PM

Geithner needs to go to jail, period.

Archimedes on June 4, 2010 at 2:47 PM

Don’t forget his performance at the IMF. His incompetence was well known before this.

lorien1973 on June 4, 2010 at 2:51 PM

This is like everything the left does.

The decide on a given Objective for pure idealogical reasons.

They then gather studies (either completely phony or misreprented) to back their arguments for the Objective (e.g. “Global Warming”).

When people dispute the studies, they just say “the debate is over” and even if the studies are disproven or don’t even support the left wing theory, those who disagree simply “ignore the science”.

Dishonest, ignorant, arrogant and utterly worthless, that’s leftism and leftists in a nutshell.

NoDonkey on June 4, 2010 at 2:52 PM

Don’t forget his performance at the IMF. His incompetence was well known before this.

lorien1973 on June 4, 2010 at 2:51 PM

Not familiar with that one, do tell…got a link?

I was under the mistaken impression that it couldn’t get any worse.

*Sigh*

Archimedes on June 4, 2010 at 2:54 PM

If you like your fraudulent study, you can keep your fraudulent study.

DrAllecon on June 4, 2010 at 2:55 PM

If you like your fraudulent study, you can keep your fraudulent study.

DrAllecon on June 4, 2010 at 2:55 PM

WINNER!

Archimedes on June 4, 2010 at 2:57 PM

Lies R Us DNC is a wholly owned subsidiary of The End Justifies The Means LLC.

Anyone that doubts that has their eyes closed and their fingers in their ears while chanting NyaNyaNyaNya.

For example, the MFM, which the NYT is a SubStandard Bearer.

ontherocks on June 4, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Oh but look at all the quality improvement in British hospitals. What planet do the libs live on. Donald Berwick is another fish-oil CQI salesman that bends the fact to fit his hypothesis.

NoKoolAide on June 4, 2010 at 3:02 PM

A large percentage of “wasteful” and “unnecessary” spending has nothing to do with increasing the quality of healthcare. The unnecessary became necessary because of Edwardsesque ambulance chasing lawyers and a rampant zero-defect mentality that requires doctors to practice “CYA medicine.” No one beyond the age of reason tries to defende doctors who are grossly negligent, but until healthcare reform includes and adequately addresses medical liability (and Democrats are no longer in the pockets of the trial lawyers – heh, fat chance of that…), defensive medicine will continue to keep costs up.

Roc on June 4, 2010 at 3:06 PM

Shouldn’t the headline be “Study used in ObamaCare argument was UNEXPECTEDLY misrepresented??

Dan Pet on June 4, 2010 at 3:08 PM

When was this Dartmouth Atlas study conducted? What were the parameters used? Just because some liberal NE school does a study we are supposed to accept the validity of it and use it to determine the course of our nationalized health care. I don’t think so and the whole lot of this regime needs to be sent packing.

Kissmygrits on June 4, 2010 at 3:12 PM

The New York Times belatedly discovers that the study actually makes no such claim on qualitative outcomes:

Way to be on top of things NY Times.
“All the news that’s fit to print”……only 6 months after you really need it.

AZ_Mike on June 4, 2010 at 3:26 PM

Enough of this crap!

1. Repeal … in toto
2. RICO indictments
3. Long prison sentences

ya2daup on June 4, 2010 at 3:29 PM

Inanemergencydial on June 4, 2010 at 2:25 PM

It’s worse than that.

Academia is a training ground.
At best, it prepares students for ENTRY-level jobs in their field.
Academics can only teach what they know and that is ENTRY-level requirements for any field.

Academia gives you the LESSON first, then gives you the TEST.

Real world gives you the TEST first, then the LESSON.

Which is why ya hear things like “Wow! This is a teachable moment”

DSchoen on June 4, 2010 at 3:31 PM

As long as the sheeple…dare I mention defensive LOST fans...***snark*** continue to lap up what the media tells them, we will always have idiots who listen to sound bytes and then proceed to screw the rest of us with their ignorant votes.

seejanemom on June 4, 2010 at 3:37 PM

It was never about controlling costs.

Is is all about controlling you.

That has always been obvious, and the misrepresentations and lies by those on the Left highlight it in bright beige… or red.

ajacksonian on June 4, 2010 at 3:58 PM

Geithner needs to go to jail, period.

Archimedes on June 4, 2010 at 2:47 PM

It’ll never happen. Obama’s mama worked for Geithner’s daddy.

txhsmom on June 4, 2010 at 3:59 PM

How in hell is it that this country fields so many college educated fools? The is a vast difference between education and intelligence. You don’t have to go to Harvard to know when someone is blowing smoke up your bum. I have known from day one this idiot in the White House was exactly that and everyone around him and the people that elected him are guilty of the same failing. I got an education but I like to think I knew how to think before I went to school. Little things like knowing that media is the plural of medium. Follow me? If you have enough little bits of knowledge after awhile they actually mean something. There are alot of people in this country with a dearth of bits.

LarryG on June 4, 2010 at 4:00 PM

At my friend’s med school graduation this past weekend the speaker, a leftist priest, pointed out the fact that the job market for new doctors is horrible right now because, although there is large demand, there is not enough money to pay for the supply of doctors required. Doctors will be required to take a cut in pay he says. And the topper is that single payer universal health care is the only solution. The applause was very light.

cobrakai99 on June 4, 2010 at 4:13 PM

Everything about Obama is mirage. I didn’t have any study at my command, but I knew intuitively and from experience that reclaiming lost efficiencies is almost impossible for the government to do. Whatever it may gain, it will quickly lose again, plus more, as long as the likes of Obama, Pelosi and Reid are running the show.

paul1149 on June 4, 2010 at 4:22 PM

R E P E A L !

hillbillyjim on June 4, 2010 at 4:28 PM

When have the truth and Democrats ever been used in the same sentence? This administration wouldn’t know the truth if it hit them in the face! Of course the GOP isn’t far behind.

flytier on June 4, 2010 at 4:43 PM

I and my fellow health administration master’s candidates used the Dartmouth Atlas extensively in our research papers. We would have been laughed out of class had we tried to fashion a quality of care argument from that data. It’s strictly utilization/cost data, not quality of care. To make a quality of care argument using the Atlas would be sloppy; to know the Atlas as well as the Obama administration policymakers surely do and make a quality of care argument goes beyond disingenuous into outright premeditated falsehood. But what else is new with crew?

Tongueboy on June 4, 2010 at 4:45 PM

LarryG on June 4, 2010 at 4:00 PM
How do we know that Obama graduated for what he had for a GPA? He refuses to release any of that info. I’ll be W had a higher GPA at Harvard MBA than Obama had at Harvard Law.

flytier on June 4, 2010 at 4:45 PM

When most of those Dems that witheld their votes, until the bribes were rolled in….I highly doubt they’d have witheld their votes over knowledge of this.

This was never about health care, and all about attaining power. Carville, and Clinton both said, Dems would be in power for years, after they passed this.

If these same dems now stood out, and said, repeal, for the sake of the country, I may be able to respect a few of them again. If they don’t, then they were never concerned about the quality in the first place.

capejasmine on June 4, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Archimedes on June 4, 2010 at 2:47 PM

Don’t you mean Orszag (Dr. Baby-Daddy, as we call him around here)? I think the GSE risk study he did with his brother and with Prof. Stiglitz. Right?

DrSteve on June 4, 2010 at 4:52 PM

There has been a huge ad campaign, both radio and TV, about the nerve of Congress to let huge cuts to Medicare and Tricare go into effect while the vacation. And who is putting out the ads? The AMA, who couldn’t wait to jump into their white coats and stand in the Rose Garden with The Won. More “smart” people proving otherwise.

Cindy Munford on June 4, 2010 at 5:16 PM

Pullet Surprise!

Stephen M on June 4, 2010 at 6:34 PM

Peter Mandark (Dexter’s Lab)

OxyCon on June 4, 2010 at 8:03 PM

Obama lied, Healthcare died.

Angry Dumbo on June 5, 2010 at 3:36 AM