Analysis: It sure looks like the WH’s Medicaid expansion stats are made up
posted at 1:05 am on January 14, 2014 by Guy Benson
The always-sharp Sean Trende first voiced his suspicions about the Obama administration’s official Medicaid numbers last week, arguing that the advertised “4 million new enrollments under Obamacare!” figure was almost certainly a wild exaggeration. Upon further review, Trende is now convinced he’s right, and that Team Obama is cooking the books to serve their narrative:
There were two major problems with the administration’s numbers. First, of the 4 million new enrollees, more than half of were in states that did not even undertake the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. So we can be pretty comfortable that the number of enrollees due to the ACA is no more than 1.9 million, using the data provided by the administration. (There are probably some previously eligible folk who decided to apply after hearing about the expansion, but their number is likely relatively small.) … The second issue is that of those 1.9 million, some would have enrolled (or re-enrolled) in the program under the pre-expansion rules. Every state had a Medicaid program in place prior to the expansion, although the eligibility level varied widely from state to state, and therefore would have signed up people in the program absent the new funding.
Click through for Trende’s updated analysis, which examines Arkansas as a case study to extrapolate and estimate the true number of newly-eligible Americans who’ve signed up for Medicaid as a result of Obamacare. (Spoiler: It’s less than a quarter of what the administration is bragging about in public). Meanwhile, the White House won’t tell us what percentage of Americans who have “selected plans” through Obamacare’s exchanges are actually paid up and enrolled. Not that it necessarily matters; even some of those consumers who’ve followed through on every jot and tittle still haven’t managed to obtain coverage. Beyond that, HHS’ recent disclosure on the percentage of ‘young invincibles’ within state-level risk pools portends significant adverse selection disruptions ahead. And the administration’s “cost containment” story is a fiction. Distorting, withholding and downplaying data: How else is a desperate political operation supposed to shift the punishing winds of public opinion?
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