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Tag Archives: MICHELLE MALKIN

The Bogus Death Statistic That Won’t Die
By Michelle Malkin
October 23, 2009

Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida has found his calling: death demagogue. First, he accused Republicans of wanting sick patients to “die quickly.” Next, he likened health insurance problems to a “holocaust in America.” Now, he’s unveiled a new website entitled “namesofthedead.com” in memory of the “more than 44,000 Americans [who] die simply because they have no health insurance.”

Just one problem: The statistic is a phantom number. Grayson’s memorial, like the Democrats’ government health care takeover plan itself, is full of vapor. It comes from a study published this year in the American Journal of Public Health. But the science is infused with left-wing politics.

Two of the co-authors, Drs. David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler, are avowed government-run health care activists. Himmelstein co-founded Physicians for a National Health Program, which bills itself as “the only national physician organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to implementing a single-payer national health program.” Woolhandler is a co-founder and served as secretary of the group.

Sounding more like a MoveOn.org organizer than a disinterested scientist, Woolhandler assailed the current health reform legislation in Congress for not going far enough: “Politicians are protecting insurance industry profits by sacrificing American lives.”

How did these political doctors come up with the 44,000 figure? They used data from a health survey conducted between 1988 and 1994. The questionnaires asked a sample of 9,000 participants whether they were insured and how they rated their own health. The federal Centers for Disease Control tracked the deaths of people in the sample group through the year 2000. Himmelstein, Woolhandler and company then crunched the numbers and attributed deaths to lack of health insurance for all the participants who initially self-reported that they had no insurance and then died for any reason over the 12-year tracking period.

At no time did the original researchers or the single-payer activists who piggy-backed off their data ever verify whether the supposed casualties of America’s callous health care system had insurance or not. In fact, here is what the report actually says:

“Our study has several limitations,” the authors concede. The survey data they used “assessed health insurance at a single point in time and did not validate self-reported insurance status. We were unable to measure the effect of gaining or losing coverage after the interview.” Himmelstein et al. simply assumed that point-in-time uninsurance translates into perpetual uninsurance — and that any health calamities that result can and must be blamed on being uninsured.

Another caveat you won’t see on Grayson’s memorial to the dubious dead: The single-payer advocate-authors also conceded in their study limitations section that “earlier population-based surveys that did validate insurance status found that between 7 percent and 11 percent of those initially recorded as being uninsured were misclassified. If present, such misclassification might dilute the true effect of uninsurance in our sample.”

To boil it all down in plain English: The single-payer scientists had no way of assessing whether the survey participants received insurance coverage between the time they answered the questionnaires and the time they died. They had no way of assessing whether the deaths could have been averted with health insurance coverage. A significant portion of those classified as “uninsured” may not have been uninsured, based on past studies that actually did verify insurance status. But the Himmelstein team just took the rate of uninsurance from the original study (3.3 percent), applied it to census data and voila: More than 44,000 Americans are dying from lack of insurance.

Next, the political doctors cooked up scary-specific death tolls for all 50 states (California — 5,302, Texas — 4,675). Newspapers dutifully cited the fear-mongering factoids. The single-payer lobbying group co-founded by Himmelstein and Woolhandler took it from there. Last month, the group set up its own memorial on the National Mall for the phantom 44,000 casualties of uninsurance.

Himmelstein (who was also the driving force behind another flawed study tying medical debt to personal bankruptcies) eschewed scientific nuance and caveats to take to the airwaves and declare starkly that an American “dies every 12 minutes” because of lack of insurance. And now Grayson has taken the monumentally dishonest concept online to solicit sob stories and put flesh on the weak bones of these dubious death numbers.

Where’s the White House health care “reality check” squad when you need it?

Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies” (Regnery 2009).

COPYRIGHT 2009 CREATORS.COM

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Note — The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, views, and/or philosophy of GOPUSA.

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Sisterhood Of The Protected Female Liberal Journalists
By Michelle Malkin
September 10, 2008

Let’s talk Mommy Wars, double standards and the media elite. Last Friday, Howard Gutman, a member of the Obama campaign’s National Finance Committee, attacked Sarah Palin’s ability to be a good parent and have a high-powered public life at the same time. In a finger-wagging appearance on the Laura Ingraham radio show, Obama’s operative scolded the Republican mother of five children for not putting her professional career on hold.

“Your responsibility is to put your family first,” Gutman lectured as he singled out Palin’s Down Syndrome baby and pregnant teenage daughter. “The proper attack is not that a woman shouldn’t run for vice president with five kids, it’s that a parent, when they have a family in need” should get out of the public sphere and stay home.

The Gutman standard has now been proffered by countless Obama hacks and water-carrying commentators. Damningly, it’s high-powered working mothers in the journalism business who are helping to broadcast the anti-Palin slams or doing nothing to defend her.

How would Katie Couric like the Gutman standard applied to her? Her husband died at 42 when her daughters were 6 and 2 years old. With two young children devastated by the loss of a father, she opted not to quit journalism. She anchored NBC’s “Today Show” through his illness and death, continued working an intensive, time-consuming schedule as one of America’s most visible broadcast journalists while a single mother with two fatherless children at home, and then jumped to CBS News, where she maintains a rigorous on-air schedule, travel plans and an off-air social calendar. Where are the finger-waggers?

How about CNN’s Soldedad O’Brien? She’s been working overtime covering the presidential campaign season, anchoring daily coverage and nighttime conventions, and producing documentaries that require large chunks of time away from home. Disney’s Family Parenting website lauds her as “a modern mom balancing a thriving career as one of America’s top news anchors along with her four children” — two daughters now ages 7 and 6 and twin boys who are 4. Where are the Palin-bashers to lambaste O’Brien’s professional pursuits?

Also at CNN, Campbell Brown flew to Las Vegas last year to moderate a political debate while 8 and a half months pregnant. Fox News host and left-wing blogger Alan Colmes, last seen questioning Palin’s commitment to prenatal care because she worked and traveled late in her pregnancy, had no comment. When Brown initially left the “Today Show” in 2007, she said she was stepping down to devote more time to family and baby. She immediately turned around and jumped ship to CNN, where she has anchored wall-to-wall CNN Election Center coverage and will launch a new nightly show in November.

At NBC, famous balancer of work and motherhood Meredith Viera replaced Couric on the “Today Show.” She has three children at home and a husband who has battled multiple sclerosis and two bouts of colon cancer. By the Gutman standard, Viera should have left the business years ago to tend to her family in need.

As a working woman in the media for 16 years and a working mother in the media for the last eight, I know the commitment and energy it took for these women to get to the top. I’ve filed columns from hospital beds, written books while nursing, brought my toddlers to TV studios, and told bedtime stories on the cell phone while boarding planes. I’ve worked hard to strike the “balance” we all seek. I’ve made good choices and bad choices, and have no regrets about the opportunities I’ve taken or the opportunities I’ve rejected. I couldn’t have done it without a supportive husband willing to forego his own career goals — the kind of spouse the media has ignored in Todd Palin and the kind of spouse I’m sure the Sisterhood of the Protected Female Journalists all have.

I don’t challenge the commitment these fellow working mothers in the media have to their home lives. What I challenge is their silence and complicity as the Palin-bashers impose a “Family First” double standard on conservatives. The sorority is closed to the Right.

Michelle Malkin is author of “Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild.” Her e-mail address is malkinblog@gmail.com.