In the Columbia Journalism Review, Trudy Lieberman, president of AHCJ’s board of directors, scolded journalists for not mentioning that Lewin Group, the consultants who released a recent study claiming that a public insurance option would cost doctors and hospitals money, is ultimately part of a major insurance company.
(Lewin Group is) part of Ingenix, which is owned by United Healthcare Group, the insurance behemoth that has been buying up insurance companies left and right, expanding its reach into just about every segment of the health-insurance market. Its flagship, UnitedHealthcare, helps make it the largest health insurer in the country. It’s a safe bet that United is not too keen on a public plan that might shrink its business.
The relationship is disclosed in the study and Lieberman turned up evidence indicating that there may be no formal protections in place for Lewin Group’s editorial independence. She wondered why journalists, particularly those behind a widely used AP story, did not provide readers with any information or context on Lewin’s insurance industry ties and called on reporters to remedy their error next time Lewin Group comes up.