STUMP » Articles » Obamacare Watch: 7 March 2014 -- How's Enrollment Going? Who knows? » 7 March 2014, 06:47

Where Stu & MP spout off about everything.

Obamacare Watch: 7 March 2014 -- How's Enrollment Going? Who knows?  


7 March 2014, 06:47

I’m not referring to the overall enrollment numbers, because somebody knows that. I mean, how many of the previously uninsured are now covered, and how many of the previously insured are now uncovered.

Here’s a WSJ article on a recent survey. I’m going to break it up in bits.

First, how many of the recently uninsured are now covered?

About 27% of 395 consumers surveyed in mid-February who enrolled in health-law coverage previously were uninsured, according to consultancy McKinsey & Co. That is up from about 11% in an earlier McKinsey survey covering consumers who had chosen coverage as of January.

Okay, that sounds good. (Also, I checked on the error bars of a sample size of 395, and it’s about +/- 5%, so yes there looks like a real uptick in coverage).

But wait, what’s this?

An additional 456 consumers said they had shopped for coverage, but not enrolled in plans. Of those, 50% cited affordability as the reason they didn’t enroll. Many of those are likely eligible for subsidies to help buy coverage that they may not be aware of, the survey also found.

So wait. There were 395 people who were previously uninsured, and 27% of those got coverage. That leaves 73% with no coverage, or 288 people. 288 people is less than 456, you may have noticed — which indicates at least some of that 456 people were people who were previously insured (I leave it as a rather easy exercise for the reader to calculate how many of the previously insured have merely “shopped around”).

Because I have not recovered old posts from Conservative Commune yet, I am digging through to find a post by Ezra Klein at Wonkblog (at WaPo at the time) where he put down the metrics that Obamacare should be judged on. I’m pretty sure one was “Have the number of insured people increased, on net?” That seems like a really low bar to clear.

I will repost that when I find it, but in the meantime, Mary Katherine Ham notes that the reason we’re having to go to a McKinsey survey and not get the info directly from the HHS is that, wouldn’t you know, they’re not gathering that info.

The federal government is not even measuring the very number ObamaCare was created to bring down. How many times did we hear 47 million uninsured? How many times did we hear it was necessary to pass a huge revamp of the entire system to insure them? Later we heard the prediction for how many of those 47 million we’ll actually insure is quite underwhelming. Now, we ask: Hey, how many of the uninsured are we actually insuring?

A: “That’s not a data point we are really collecting in any sort of systematic way.”

There is no clearer dereliction of duty for this law. They created an irresponsible reform behemoth, they failed to implement it responsibly, they spent irresponsible amounts of money building a bunch of exchanges that don’t work, and now they’re not even responsible enough to bother checking how much help or damage they’ve done with the most straightforward metric available.

They don’t care about how much of your money they spend and they don’t care about figuring out if they’re helping people with that money because they might have to admit to not caring about how much of your money they spend. This is why having government tackle complicated problems can be a problem in and of itself.

Yeah, so isn’t it convenient that one of the really-low-bar success metrics isn’t even being measured?


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