We knew that the opponents of health reform will attempt to manufacture research findings against the pending proposals. Ken Jacobs at UC-Berkeley earlier offered here a point-by-point takedown about some citations made on the House floor about the supposed negative economic impacts of health reform–statistics that were not just inflated, but basically made up.
Now Michael Schear at the Washington Post has obvious evidence of this, as it has obtained an E-mail from the Chamber of Commerce’s senior health policy manager soliciting funds from business lobbies for a study about the jobs impact of health reform. The E-mail states: “We are seeking 4-5 other groups to contribute $5k so that we can move forward as soon as possible, especially considering that Leader Reid has filed a rule 14 to begin debate as early as Tuesday.. The longer we wait, the less chance we have of influencing the debate… If you know of any other trade associations we should approach, please let me know.”
They plan to use the money to hire a “respected economist” to produce a study. Then, “The economist will then circulate a sign-on letter to hundreds of other economists saying that the bill will kill jobs and hurt the economy. We will then be able to use this open letter to produce advertisements, and as a powerful lobbying and grass-roots document.”
We suspected as much from the opposition, but never had the process of manufacturing data laid out before us so clearly.
Even with this evidence, the Post article tries to be even-handed: “The proposed economic study by the Chamber is the latest example of attempts by advocates and opponents of health-care reform to influence the debate with economic studies whose authenticity is later questioned by their adversaries.” But what if one side is just much, much more willing to make stuff up?