Cruz: HHS used “funny numbers” for its ObamaCare enrollment claims
posted at 12:01 pm on April 14, 2014 by Ed Morrissey
Count Ted Cruz among the unimpressed about the HHS claim that over seven million Americans enrolled in ObamaCare by the end of the open-enrollment deadline. Javier Manjarres conducted a short telephone interview with Sen. Cruz, pointing out an earlier story broken by talk radio host Drew Steele about notification letters from HHS of ObamaCare auto-enrollment and questioned whether those were part of the HHS calculations. Cruz called this part of the mystery around the “funny numbers” coming out of the Obama administration, and wondered how many of the 7.1 million were only partial sign-ups:
The letter illustrates two things. Number one, that the Obama administration is using funny numbers when it is touting the enrollment numbers, it has failed to distinguish between those who just signed up to get an application, and those who actually purchased insurance and paid their first month’s premium.
It has also deliberately neglected who was insured, so they are just trying to inflate their numbers to make it appear far better than it is, and this is a real manifestation of this-we don’t know how many of these letters HHS sent out, and we don’t even know if they are counting the partially completed applications that they filled out in the funny numbers that they are releasing.
In addition to that, it also underscores the incredible lack of data security and the violations of privacy that Obamacare necessitates, because on the face of the letter, it is state government agencies that are forwarding your personal health information to the federal government without your permission, against your wishes, and they have no business doing that. Its one of many problems that is pandemic in Obamacare.
Javier has pictures of one HHS letter, sent out to an unknown number of Americans which informed them that HHS had “started” an application for them based on information from other government agencies. This is part of the text of the letter:
“…You or someone on your application will likely be able to get coverage through the Marketplace, and get help paying for health coverage…We used the information from the state agency to start an application for you on Healthcare.gov. You’ll need to complete and submit this application to see if you qualify for Marketplace coverage.
To do this, you can log into your Healthcare.gov account, or if you don’t already have an account, you can create one on Healthcare.gov… For more information about how to complete the application we started for you www.healthcare.gov/help/statetranser”
Did these partial sign-ups get counted in the final 7.1 million figure? No one knows, because HHS hasn’t exactly been forthcoming on the data from these claims made over the past couple of weeks.
Needless to say, Republicans would like to get more of that information — and the nomination of Sylvia Burwell to replace Kathleen Sebelius as HHS Secretary gives Senate Republicans the perfect opening to demand that data, as well as explanations for the many other failures at HHS. Marc Thiessen argues at the Washington Post that they should take full advantage of that opening:
So thanks to Burwell’s nomination, Americans may finally get to the bottom of how the biggest presidential lie in recent memory made it though OMB’s fact-checking process — not once but dozens of times.
The first time the lie surfaced — when Obama told the American Medical Association on June 15, 2009, “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what” — it wasn’t on Burwell’s watch.
But Burwell was OMB director when Obama declared on Sept. 26, 2013: “Now, let’s start with the fact that even before the Affordable Care Act fully takes effect, about 85 percent of Americans already have health insurance — either through their job, or through Medicare, or through the individual market. So if you’re one of these folks, it’s reasonable that you might worry whether health-care reform is going to create changes that are a problem for you — especially when you’re bombarded with all sorts of fear-mongering. So the first thing you need to know is this: If you already have health care, you don’t have to do anything.”
Burwell should explain to Congress and the American people how her office allowed blatant falsehoods to get into presidential speeches, including whether political aides overruled career policy advisers who warned that the president’s claims were untrue.
Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats may have enjoyed their brief victory lap, but it’s going to force them to defend ObamaCare the rest of the year. We’ll see how much of a victory the enrollment numbers turned out to be by the enthusiasm with which Democratic incumbents in tight races embrace them. If the studies from RAND and Express Scripts are any indication, don’t expect that to be a common thread.