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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Consumer Reports' Massive Fail

Consumer Reports, published by Consumers Union, is a valuable tool when trying to figure out which is the best washing machine, most reliable automobile, or most powerful drill. By staying out of politics, and not seeming to have a dog in any fight other than providing accurate information, Consumer Reports and its parent company have earned an almost unprecedented reputation.

No more. As reported by Politico, Consumers Union is putting its brand behind current health care reform proposals (it's not clear which ones), including a government run plan. An advertisement[*] being run by Consumers Union is completely vague, only calling for "health care reform."

That concept is agreed to by almost everyone, it's just that most Americans have a very different concept of health care reform than the monstrous proposals -- laden with taxes, penalties, punishments, government bureaucracy and out-of-control spending -- which actually are on the table in Washington.

On its health care website, however, it appears (although the language still is somewhat vague), that Consumers Union is backing many of the concepts in the Democratic proposals to have government run our health care system.

Consumers Union has done substantial damage to its reputation and status. It may know dishwashers, but it obviously doesn't know much about the Democratic proposals which I have spend a considerable time studying. I have analyzed on this blog dozens of specific aspects of the Democratic proposals, and it is shocking to me that Consumers Union is so profoundly ignorant of what actually is in the proposals. The dreamy concept of providing care for everyone at low cost with higher quality, which is the thrust of the Consumers Union position, has no basis in the actual legislative proposals.

The Democratic proposals will accomplish none of the goals which Consumers Union seeks. The proposals will not contain costs because individuals will have no incentive to price and quality shop for medical services -- the exact opposite of what Consumers Union preaches with regard to every other consumer product. The Democratic proposals continue and exacerbate a system in which consumers have no stake in the cost of medical services and products.

The Democratic proposals also force government into the most private aspects of our lives through centralized medical records, a health care mandate which for the first time in our history taxes people for failing to engage in economic activity, IRS involvement in enforcing the mandate through receipt of individual health insurance information, and a host of other bureaucracies created to monitor our lives.

Consumers Union should stick to what it knows. And it obviously doesn't know much about what is important to Americans when it comes to our personal liberties, privacy, and true health care freedom.

[*Note: This post originally had the advertisement embedded, but it has been removed because the video stopped loading]

ADDED: Consumer Reports' Health Reform Page, which a Consumer Reports Board Member is touting on Huffington Post as containing "honest, fact-checked" information, in fact contains out-of-date and highly speculative information regarding health care reform. Shockingly so. I will be doing an analysis of the information on Consumer Reports Health Reform Page, but because of other commitments, will not be able to get to it until this weekend. Check back.

Related Posts:
Get Rid of the Mandate
IRS The New Health Care Enforcer
Taxing Your Mere Existence

The Darts Series (which Consumers Union obviously did not read):
Throwing Darts at HR3200 - Day 7 (Don't Wish Too Hard)
Throwing Darts at HR3200 - Day 6 (No Mulligans)
Throwing Darts at HR3200 - Day 5 (Cutting Hospital Readmissions)
Throwing Darts at HR3200 - Day 4 (Birth of a New Entitlement)
Throwing Darts at HR3200 - Day 3 (Cost Sharing Limits Gone Wild)
Throwing Darts at HR3200 - Day 2 (Enhanced Penalties)
Throwing Darts At HR3200 - Day 1

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  1. I stopped reading Consumer Reports a long time ago, when I got heartily sick of the "more government" "more regulation" "wrap everyone in bubble wrap, eliminate all possibility of so much as a bump or bruise" editorial mindset.

  2. Thanks for the tip.

    I'm in a position to cancel over 9000 subscriptions and I'm doing so today.

    And I'll be sure to let them know why.

  3. I wonder how they rank GE appliances. News Networks? Sub prime lenders?

  4. Boy is everyone slow. I stopped subscribing so long ago that I don't remember when it was. I can tell you that it was because CR compared a Peugeot to a Pinto and declared the Pinto superior in every way. That was the last issue I have ever read.

  5. I have been very happy with consumer reports for years both in magazine and on line. Seldom had an issue with anything they recommended. Today I sent them an email cancelling my membership. All over with this dumb move. Told them I would no longer be able to afford them with increase in my healthcare cost from Barry's reform plans

  6. This isn't all that new. They've advocated safety devices in cars, for example. IIRC, they had problems during the seat-belt interlock/automatic seat belt era criticizing the absolute unworkability of the resulting products, having lobbied for the mandate.