This morning the McCain campaign released a rather surprising study claiming that the senator's health plan would actually cover more than half of the nation's 47 million uninsured — and two million more than the plan put forward by Senator Obama.
The study, by a team of economists at the Minnesota-based HSI Network LLC, is a distinct outlier. Several other studies have found that McCain's tax credit plan would cover only a relatively small percentage of the uninsured, while Obama's plan, although much more expensive, would cover far more.
The McCain press release from McCain economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin trumpets the new study as "an independent assessment similar to one done on the Obama health reform plan." But how independent is it?
The lead author is Roger Feldman, a professor of health economics at the University of Minnesota. A quick Google search finds that Feldman is a longtime advocate of the type of "consumer-driven" health policies that McCain has been pushing. And Feldman's frequent writing partner is none other than Stephen Parente, his fellow Golden Gopher economics prof.
Who's Parente, you ask? We'll let Holtz-Eakin answer that question — here's what he told Politico.com last April: "Holtz-Eakin said the health-policy experts who helped write McCain's plan include Stephen T. Parente, a health economist at the University of Minnesota..."
And by the way, Parente's CV lists him as a principal (i.e. part owner) of the consulting firm that wrote the report.