A study out Tuesday from the The Department of Health and Human Services finds that somewhere between 50 million and 129 million non-elderly Americans have a pre-existing condition. Simply put, that's the kind of condition insurance companies can use to deny coverage. This same study also found that 15-30 percent of people in good health are likely to develop such a condition within eight years. (To read more about the HHS study, click here.)
What's my take? I don't buy this. First, the timing is just too good to be true. This study comes just a couple of days before a very serious vote on the new health care law in Congress.
Second, I don't buy the numbers. A chronic medical condition is any kind of medical history that you report. Pre-existing medical conditions have been around for a long time. Especially diabetes, obesity, hypertension, even arthritis, these have all been around for a long, long time. But to say 129 million people have pre-existing conditions that may put them at risk of losing their health insurance is hot air, in my opinion.
The fact is, we don't know where the HHS figures come from because we don't know what their sources are in regards to the129 million Americans who are said to have a pre-existing condition.
Your medical records are federally protected so they can't be getting the figures from medical records. These figures likely come from a mix of statistical projections and some from Medicaid and Medicare numbers. But here's the truth, figures for a lot of chronic medical conditions are moveable targets.
Take diabetes, for example. Let's say you went in for a physical 5 years ago and you were found to have diabetes. Since then you've lost 50 pounds and now your diabetes is gone.
To offer up such a high number is a harsh lie -- that's a made up number. There's no way to come up with a number like that. The only way you could prove a number like that is if you visited everyone, took their medical history and gave them a physical.
The math just doesn't add up. I mean, if that would be the case, these 129 million Americans would have lost their insurance a long time ago.
Dr. Manny Alvarez is the Senior Managing Health Editor of FoxNews.com and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey.