White House Exchange Figures Highly Misleading


Once again, the Obama White House reported figures on something that are misleading at best.

Whenever the White House reported their unemployment figures, they were always highly skewed to reflect an unrealistic picture as to how many Americans were out of work. They ignored key statistics such as how many had dropped off of unemployment because their benefits ran out or those who just gave up trying. They also didn’t account for those people who were forced to take part-time work instead of full-time work which they so desperately needed. A number of studies indicate that adding these figures could alter the actual unemployment rate by more than 10 points.

The same has been true when the White House has reported their figures on the number of people that have signed up for healthcare insurance through Obamacare exchanges. Back in October 2013, the White House was bragging that they had 14.6 million unique visitors to the Healthcare.gov site in the first ten days it was launched. The way the White House reported the figures they made it sound like nearly 14 million people were enrolling, when in fact it was far from the truth.

During that time, the White stated that thousands of people in Florida enrolled through the exchange when in actuality less than a hundred, and possibly less than a dozen successfully signed up.

Now the White House is again reporting very misleading figures and using those figures to grossly distort the truth. Earlier this week, the White House tweeted:

“RT the news: About 11.4 million people are ✍ up for private health coverage through the #ACA. #11MillionAndCounting”

“6:50 PM – 17 Feb 2015”

Barack Obama has already used this figure to boast about how many Americans now have healthcare insurance and that Obamacare is a big success. Forbes took a look at the 11.4 million figure and broke it down to a figure closer to reality.

First they used the retention rate of how many enrollees actually signed up which for the first year was about 84%, which is close to what private insurance carriers experience. That drops the 11.4 million down to around 9.5 million people.

Next they questioned how many of the 9.5 million were previously insured or previously uninsured. They reported:

“We don’t know the actual number of Obamacare exchange enrollees who were previously uninsured, because the Obama administration hasn’t tracked those statistics. But we do know that at least 4.7 million Americans received cancellation notices in 2013, because Obamacare’s regulations made their health plans illegal. Based on survey data from McKinsey, last May I estimated that 2.6 million previously uninsured individuals gained private non-group coverage. A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 57% of those with exchange-based coverage were previously uninsured, which would amount to 3.8 million in 2014.”

“We also can’t predict whether or not the uninsured fraction will be higher in 2015 than it was in 2014. But if we carry forward the more generous Kaiser estimate of 57%, and combine it with the 84% retention rate, we can estimate that about 5.4 million previously uninsured individuals would be enrolled in Obamacare’s exchanges by the end of the 2015 enrollment period, based on current figures.”

“Needless to say, 5.4 million is not as impressive as 11.4 million.”

If the estimated figures from the Congressional Budget Office are close to being accurate, they predict that 10 million Americans will lose their employer provided healthcare benefits this year as a direct result of the employer mandate. If only half of them go on to purchase private insurance, that paints an even more dismal outlook for the success of Obamacare.

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