The Lewin Group

I mentioned this in my Huffington Post column today, but here's an expanded look. The Republicans, along with various cable news wingnuts, are fond of quoting scary numbers from a report issued by the Lewin Group. For example, Michele Bachmann's line, "Approximately 114 million Americans are expected to leave private health insurance," is taken from the Lewin Group report.

Well, holy shit what's this:

Generally left unsaid amid all the citations is that the Lewin Group is wholly owned by UnitedHealth Group, one of the nation's largest insurers.

More specifically, the Lewin Group is part of Ingenix, a UnitedHealth subsidiary that was accused by the New York attorney general and the American Medical Association, a physician's group, of helping insurers shift medical expenses to consumers by distributing skewed data. Ingenix supplied its parent company and other insurers with data that allegedly understated the "usual and customary" doctor fees that insurers use to determine how much they will reimburse consumers for out-of-network care.

In January, UnitedHealth agreed to a $50 million settlement with the New York attorney general and a $350 million settlement with the AMA, covering conduct going back as far as 1994.

Whoops. How much do you want to bet that the Republicans will continue to quote the Lewin Group report?