Surprise: New Census Bureau changes to annual survey will obscure effects of ObamaCare

posted at 12:01 pm on April 15, 2014 by Allahpundit

Seems legit. It’s a basic principle of science that when you’re running an experiment on a control group and a group subjected to your new drug, you want to use totally different methodologies in measuring the effects on each to see if the drug is working.

As it turns out, the change the Bureau is making all but guarantees that the number of uninsured next year, post-ObamaCare, will be lower than than the number last year, pre-ObamaCare. This drug will work, even if the feds have to tweak how success is measured to ensure it.

An internal Census Bureau document said that the new questionnaire included a “total revision to health insurance questions” and, in a test last year, produced lower estimates of the uninsured. Thus, officials said, it will be difficult to say how much of any change is attributable to the Affordable Care Act and how much to the use of a new survey instrument.

“We are expecting much lower numbers just because of the questions and how they are asked,” said Brett J. O’Hara, chief of the health statistics branch at the Census Bureau…

Another Census Bureau paper said “it is coincidental and unfortunate timing” that the survey was overhauled just before major provisions of the health care law took effect. “Ideally,” it said, “the redesign would have had at least a few years to gather base line and trend data.”

The old questionnaire asked consumers if they had various types of coverage at any time in the prior year. The new survey asks if they have insurance at the time of the interview — in February, March or April — then uses follow-up questions to find out when that coverage began and what months it was in effect. Using this technique, census officials believe they will be able to reconstruct the history of coverage month by month, over a period of about 15 months, for each person in a household.

They’ve been asking people whether they’ve had any health insurance over the past year. Supposedly, that produces a lot of false negatives from lower-income people who’ve forgotten that they were on Medicaid for a time before leaving the rolls. By changing the questions and following up later, they’re going to try to help people remember better by reconstructing a timeline with them for the past 12 months. All of which is fine — but why do it now? Logically, in the interest of preserving a clear comparison of America before and after a massive overhaul of the health-insurance industry, you’d want to hold all variables in a survey like this constant between 2013 and 2014. Unless, that is, the goal here is producing rosier numbers by any means necessary.

Even some liberal wonks are annoyed by the move. If you have faith in O-Care and think the numbers of uninsured will be rosier next year on the merits, the last thing you want is the Census Bureau handing critics a reason to doubt the data:

Go figure that an administration that would ignore statutory deadlines and treat people with unpaid premiums as fully enrolled in the name of making its signature boondoggle look better would also play games with the Census. Exit question: Remember in 2009 when Obama ordered the director of the Census Bureau to “work directly with the White House”?


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Banana republic.

BuckeyeSam on April 15, 2014 at 12:07 PM

I see you guys are working overtime to “unskew” reality again. Good luck with that. Hope it goes better for you than it did last time.
 
everdiso on April 1, 2014 at 12:14 PM

rogerb on April 15, 2014 at 12:07 PM

More lies and spin.

This President and his Regime are incapable of being truthful, about ANYTHING.

Meople on April 15, 2014 at 12:08 PM

I’d like to say “none of your business” if asked whether I had/have health insurance. Of course, I know it will be against the law not to comply.

freedomfirst on April 15, 2014 at 12:08 PM

It was a tie, btw.
 

What great news for the country. Millions more now insured. Proof that government can still get things done in these days of petty partisan ship.
 
everdiso on March 27, 2014 at 5:03 PM

rogerb on April 15, 2014 at 12:09 PM

A lying scumbag like obozo will do anything to hide the truth. We need the next administration to do a full investigation and prosecute everyone involved in this administration to the full extent of the law. Anything else would be a surrender to the destruction of the Republic.

Flange on April 15, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Who else is exasperated with these down-is-up antics?

I tend to think Carvelle may be right: If we don’t get the WH in 2016, we’ll have one party rule until the place crashes. Since the GOP is too stupid and gutless, since the media is too complicit, and since the public is too uninformed, Obama will do whatever he can to put in place the permanent majority through entitlements and amnesty simply because he can get away with it as an affirmative-action president the US was too afraid to fire.

If Hillary follows, that’s it. We’ll get invaded while the coasts and all the major cities proclaim, “Finally, it’s about time you saved us from a Constitution written by those racist Founding Fathers. Wait, what do you mean I have to go to a camp?”

BuckeyeSam on April 15, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Mark Twain

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

There are lies, damned lies and statistics.

Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.

Drained Brain on April 15, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Even some liberal wonks are annoyed by the move. If you have faith in O-Care and think the numbers of uninsured will be rosier next year on the merits, the last thing you want is the Census Bureau handing critics a reason to doubt the data:

The words “useful idiot” come to mind.

Fenris on April 15, 2014 at 12:16 PM

If the new numbers show increased coverage “In yo face, Repubs, Obama wins!” If the numbers show less coverage, then you will have to apply a correction factor to the new numbers. When you do that….”in yo face, Repubs, Obama wins!”

tdarrington on April 15, 2014 at 12:22 PM

But remember that the bureaucracy serves the public good – not entrenched political interests.

/sarc

gwelf on April 15, 2014 at 12:27 PM

On the plus side – when the republicans shut it down the numbers will still look good…

Skywise on April 15, 2014 at 12:30 PM

“Insane” – Barro. “terrible time” – Kliff.

No it’s not. This will work for the Democrats. They’ve perfected it. They rig the mechanism that produces the numbers now, and by the time they come out showing a massive decline in the number of uninsured, nobody will remember except a few of us.

The media will celebrate the bogus top line numbers and we’ll be left saying “b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-but…”

forest on April 15, 2014 at 12:36 PM

No federal government statistical data is trustworthy anymore.

Curtiss on April 15, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Another Census Bureau paper said “it is coincidental and unfortunate timing” that the survey was overhauled just before major provisions of the health care law took effect. “Ideally,” it said, “the redesign would have had at least a few years to gather base line and trend data.”

It is not coincidental, but it is unfortunate. Sorry, but too many times data coming out of DC has been skewed in an effort to push agendas or elections.

CPRforAmerica on April 15, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Hey dumbass liberals Obama cult members on Twitter – they have the numbers and they aren’t good.

That’s why.

Anyone who’s heard of insurance will be marked as insured.

Chuck Schick on April 15, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Seems legit. It’s a basic principle of science that when you’re running an experiment on a control group and a group subjected to your new drug, you want to use totally different methodologies in measuring the effects on each to see if the drug is working.

Hide the decline

Nothing new …

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on April 15, 2014 at 12:38 PM

No federal government statistical data is trustworthy anymore.

Curtiss on April 15, 2014 at 12:36 PM

They don’t even bother to release data anymore. Just top line claims. All it takes is for some Regime Goon to whisper “7.1 million” to an MSM stooge and that’s that.

forest on April 15, 2014 at 12:40 PM

In CA, the Covered Ca is starting to run commercials on how to raise your kids.

But they aren’t trying to take control of our lives, LOL!

PattyJ on April 15, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Does anyone still believe we are not at war with our own government…?

d1carter on April 15, 2014 at 12:43 PM

“Insane” – Barro. “terrible time” – Kliff.

No it’s not. This will work for the Democrats. They’ve perfected it. They rig the mechanism that produces the numbers now, and by the time they come out showing a massive decline in the number of uninsured, nobody will remember except a few of us.

The media will celebrate the bogus top line numbers and we’ll be left saying “b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-but…”

forest on April 15, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Common Core math comes in handy in the “real” world.////sarc

31giddyup on April 15, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Remember in 2009 when Obama ordered the director of the Census Bureau to “work directly with the White House”?

Of course. The better to CONTROL the information.

GarandFan on April 15, 2014 at 12:45 PM

At this point I’m numb to all this garbage- the constant moving of the goalposts, outright lies and obfuscation, total disregard for parts of the law and the abuse of power that entails.

And, those liberal so-called “wonks” can shove their faux concern. Solitary, inconsequential tweets aside, we know they have and will continue to be on their knees in front of Obama and this administration.

changer1701 on April 15, 2014 at 12:47 PM

It’s much like using U3 as the official measure of unemployment.

The sad fact we need to face is that liberals control the federal bureaucracy. Even if the GOP wins the Presidency and both houses of Congress, federal bureaucrats at all levels will be working to undermine them.

bw222 on April 15, 2014 at 12:48 PM

This is directly from the Democratic for President play book. It is a numbers game of statistics. In both elections Obama kind of trailed by about 10%. He would need about 15% lead to win. The way the got it was by taking advantage of every opportunity that would give them even the smallest, of advantage. All of these .1% added up until the accumulated to the 15% that they needed to win. This my friends is exactly what they are doing. It is not truth or honesty. It is just a slight of hand trick of statistics. What has happened to us as a great nation that this has become the norm of a self serving Government not of “WE THE PEOPLE”. Our only hope is to vote again anyone that uses these trick to pose as truth. Vote against anyone that Votes only party lines for the good of the party and only the party. Vote against any one that “you have to vote for to see what is in it”.

jpcpt03 on April 15, 2014 at 12:49 PM

“it is coincidental and unfortunate timing” that the survey was overhauled just before major provisions of the health care law took effect.

Hmmm. Sounds like Susan Rice explaining things away on five Sunday talk shows.

fogw on April 15, 2014 at 12:49 PM

I’ll say it again…..Standardize Govt Data Collection and its release. Make data consistent no matter what administration is in charge.
these are a bunch if freaking liars putting this crap out

Privatize It on April 15, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Even some liberal wonks are annoyed by the move. If you have faith in O-Care and think the numbers of uninsured will be rosier next year on the merits, the last thing you want is the Census Bureau handing critics a reason to doubt the data.

Whatevs. They’ll compartmentalize and dismiss these ‘concerns’ the second they get a real twinge of fear that the Democrats really might be in serious political trouble going forward through the next few years.

They’re not there yet, but just give it another month of non-movement in the polls and they’ll forget they pretended to care about this latest hide-the-salami move from their Beloved Precious Leader and his Politburo of the People.

Good Lt on April 15, 2014 at 12:53 PM

HotAir Staff – today is 1) tax day, 2)Boston Marathon bombing anniversary, 3) NY deadline for “assault rifle” registration – and these are the best threads you can put out?

dentarthurdent on April 15, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Census Bureau Annual Survey? Where in the Constitution is there authority for a Census Bureau Annual Survey? Where do they get the authority to ask for all of the personal/private information these surveys demand?

Personally … these surveys are shredder fodder!

r27cj on April 15, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Remember in 2009 when Obama ordered the director of the Census Bureau to “work directly with the White House”?

Yeah, but that was so the Census folks could “massage” the unemployment numbers just before the 2012 election. Totally unrelated to this situation, I’m sure. /

iurockhead on April 15, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Surprise … why the Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo is there an annual census survey in the first place instead of just every 10 years. Maybe so the wonks can keep their jobs in between. I don’t fill out the long form 10 year census beyond name, number of people and gender and I sure as spit won’t fill out one of those annual things. In the trash. Postal delivery here sucks. Never saw it. I don’t answer my door to strangers. Sorry, we never answer the hardline phone. Never saw the letter. So sorry. I don’t recall. I plead the fifth. I’m friends with Lois Lerner and Eric Holder and they said I don’t have to answer your questions.

deepdiver on April 15, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Fluke off.

The census is not to promote PC and D-rats’ b/s.

GO to Hell!!!

Schadenfreude on April 15, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Ministry of Truth.

Occams Stubble on April 15, 2014 at 1:19 PM

George Orwell was a F’N genius.
This is straight out of 1984.

RedManBlueState on April 15, 2014 at 1:22 PM

My wife, who fills out our taxes, just told me that the IRS now demands whether or not we have health insurance.

I can only imagine what other questions the IRS will require us to answer in the future.

Drained Brain on April 15, 2014 at 1:22 PM

“Fundamentally transform the United States of America…”

… and people cheered.

Seven Percent Solution on April 15, 2014 at 1:23 PM

Figures don’t lie, but liars do figure.

vnvet on April 15, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Now there’ve always been tensions, there have always been calls from the White House under any administration I assume, when they don’t like a particular story. But it is particularly aggressive under the Obama administration and I think it’s a campaign that’s very well organized, that’s designed to have sort of a chilling effect and to some degree has been somewhat successful in getting broadcast producers who don’t really want to deal with the headache of it — why put on these controversial stories that we’re going to have to fight people on, when we can fill the broadcast with other perfectly decent stories that don’t ruffle the same feathers?

Seven Percent Solution on April 15, 2014 at 1:30 PM

If 30 million were uninsured and 6+ million lost their insurance B/C of 0 care and they signed up 7 million – how is that a success?

Bambi on April 15, 2014 at 1:31 PM

All of this is meaningless. Arguing over how many people “enrolled” in Obamacare is pointless, because however many people did enroll will be lied about by the administration.

What really matters are the insurance companies. If by this fall they are losing billions of dollars because either the wrong pool of people are signing up or too few people are paying for insurance while too many are going on Medicaid, then the insurance companies will be demanding a bailout. And if they don’t get it, premiums will skyrocket or they will go out of business, or both.

That is what we have to wait for to see just how successful Obamacare really is. And if the Republicans are smart, they will push for Congress NOT to go for an insurance company bailout, just like Marco Rubio demanded. That should be the big push for the Republicans in Congress. If the insurance companies don’t get the bailout, they go bust, then Obama will have to explain why and what he’s going to do about it.

And single-payer can’t be implemented without the approval of Congress, and they’re not about to give it in an election year.

Libertyship46 on April 15, 2014 at 1:36 PM

If 30 million were uninsured and 6+ million lost their insurance B/C of 0 care and they signed up 7 million – how is that a success?

Bambi on April 15, 2014 at 1:31 PM

That’s not fair. That’s a “word” math problem. Those are harder than simple equations. The last thing the American education system is designed to do is to get students to apply math and other subjects to real life. Besides, isn’t there a common-corey answer that’s kind-of, sort-of in the ballpark so that we can still get full credit?

BuckeyeSam on April 15, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Whatevs.

Obamacare will still suck.

Can’t hide that from the American people.

MichaelGabriel on April 15, 2014 at 3:21 PM

Lies, lies and more lies from a President involved in gun running, supplying drug dealers, murdering American citizens, corrupting the IRS, circumventing the Constitution, corrupting employment data, and the list goes on and on. To think that Nixon for lying about a breaking, and Clinton for lying about sex in the oval office. This President stinks to high heaven.

leader4hru on April 15, 2014 at 3:39 PM

Obama NEWSPEAK to rename the Census Bureau to be the CON-Census Bureau.

jpcpt03 on April 15, 2014 at 9:31 PM

One last thing. How many out there are aware that the Government through the Census Bureau can supply you with a free app that will give you information about an area BUT also reports your every movement through your smart phones GPS. Your every movement can be tracked and reported to Omaba.

jpcpt03 on April 15, 2014 at 9:37 PM