President Obama, the science President?

Wasn't Barack Obama going to be the science President. That is, he was going to let science and empirical data guide the policies of his administration, unlike the approach taken by his predecessor, candidate Obama argued. 


So, speaking about healthcare and health insurance at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania today, President Obama said:


...Every year, the problem gets worse.  Every year, insurance companies ...raise premiums higher and higher and higher. 


Just last month, Anthem Blue Cross in California tried to jack up rates by nearly 40 percent -- 40 percent.  Anybody's paycheck gone up 40 percent?


AUDIENCE:  Nooo --


PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I mean, why is it that we think this is normal?  In my home state of Illinois, rates are going up by as much as 60 percent.  You just heard Leslie, who was hit with more than a hundred percent increase -- 100 percent.  One letter from her insurance company and her premiums doubled.  Just like that...


PRESIDENT OBAMA:  So how much higher do premiums have to rise until we do something about it?


So, you have to ask President Obama--Isn't the scientific approach, if you want to find out how much insurance premium rates for health care have increased, one of taking a statistical sample over a sufficient time period and geographic area--in order to get a proper measure. 


But, as Alan Reynolds, Cato @ Liberty, points out, Obama's Bureau of Labor Statistics has done that and


It turns out the consumer price index for health insurance premiums fell by 3.2 % in 2009. (as cited in today's Chicago Tribune editorial column, link not available).


So, if the Obama Administration wants to be known as the administration that put science back in government, the President is going to have to set a better example. As Reynolds writes, if President Obama wants to know how much healthcare insurance rates have been increasing over a significant period of time, with a broad based scientific sample, have a staffer call Obama's Bureau of Labor Statistics. I mean, fair is fair.              







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