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Government Math Stats Politics

Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed? 723

Posted by timothy
from the 7.1m-impossible-things-before-breakfast dept.
An anonymous reader writes "When the Obama administration announced on April 1 that an estimated 7.1 million had signed up for ObamaCare by the end of March, it seemed a nearly impossible achievement. To reach 7.1 million, sign-ups had to rocket up by 67% in just one month. That's astounding enough, but an IBD review of existing ObamaCare enrollment data shows that the mathematical challenge of reaching 7.1 million sign-ups was even tougher."
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Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?

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  • by PseudoCoder (1642383) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @01:50PM (#46716939)

    If you play with the definition of things then you can make the numbers be whatever you want. Read a report last week that more than 1/3 of those were people that were dropped at the beginning of the year (which means there's very little real gain in number of people insured), and 1/4 hadn't actually paid. So the number is just a topical headline that they feed the media so they can pat their backs, but breaks down under serious scrutiny. Like "we've deported more illegal immigrants than the previous administration". Truth is they changed the definition of "deported" to count people who were stopped at the border and turned around, which had never been counted as a deportation before. Meanwhile the Border Patrolman's union is complaining that the administration and DHS/ICE are making their job nearly impossible, but the media won't cover them, and they actually kicked the leader of the union out of congressional hearings.

    But they're the most transparent EVER!

  • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @01:51PM (#46716953)

    For example, they may have moved people on an existing program like Medicaid to Obamacare enrollments

    If you're eligible for Medicaid, you are NOT eligible for the ACA subsidies for health insurance. Which means that if you CHOOSE to buy your own insurance when eligible for Medicaid, insurance will cost you five times what it costs someone who makes a bit more money (and is therefore eligible for subsidies).

    That said, what they're not saying, so far, is how many of those 7.5 million (7.1 is sooo yesterday - today's number is 7.5) have actually paid a premium for this new insurance.

    Note that many insurance companies aren't going to be accepting new clients after the close of "open enrollment" absent changes in life/employent/whatever. If you marry, divorce, get a job, lose a job, become a widow/widower, you can get insurance, but you can't just any old time.

    Apparently the possibility that people might take advantage of the "no pre-existing condition" clause of the ACA to get insurance when something catastrophic happens disturbs the insurance companies' bottom line deeply.

  • Re:Fuck Obamacare (Score:5, Informative)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @01:55PM (#46717011)

    You can set up a HSA instead of insurance, if you want.

    Nope. If you sign up for an HSA [wikipedia.org] then you must also sign up for an HDHP (High Deductible Health Plan). But by getting an HSA+HDHP, you are conforming to Obamacare, not "opting out".

  • Re:It's California (Score:3, Informative)

    by n1ywb (555767) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @02:07PM (#46717141) Homepage Journal

    Hi Bruce,

    I also have my own company, with one employee. I have been purchasing coverage on the private market for my family of 4 for about $880 / mo. Now that plan is being cancelled by my insurance company because it's not grandfathered. To purchase an equivalent plan through my state exchange is going to cost about $1200 mo. I make just enough that I don't qualify for meaningful subsidies, and being self employed my subsidy eligibility doesn't take into account my huge self employment tax burden. So I am left with the unpalatable options of going with a crappy "bronze" plan with a huge deductable, or having to spend spend an extra $320/mo for the the coverage I already have. If the new state plan is "better" in some way than my old coverage it's not obvious to me how. I'm sorry you had so many issues signing up for private insurance, but for me it seems like ObamaCare is a significant net loss.

  • by romanval (556418) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @02:15PM (#46717235)

    Um.. most of US population is already covered though their employers/family plan. They're talking about the 40 million or so Americans who cannot get affordable coverage due to preexisting conditions, income restraints, and the like.

  • by Bartles (1198017) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @02:18PM (#46717283)
    It's outright propaganda. The news took the numbers and ran with them declaring victory. Stop it with the stupid both parties do it schtick. Both parties didn't pass the ACA.
  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Thursday April 10, 2014 @02:34PM (#46717583) Homepage Journal

    There was a legal challenge to the ACA already, and it was defeated in court. In other words: your views on the constitutionality of the ACA aren't shared by the current Supreme Court, and therefore they are pretty much irrelevant

    You seem to not understand how the Supreme Court works. That's OK, it's arcane.

    The particular ACA challenge you refer to was over the Constitutionality of the ACA as a fine. The Court said, "it's not a fine, it's a tax, and FedGov can levy taxes." The challenge was defeated.

    Now other lawyers [cato.org] are back before the Court arguing that taxes must originate in the House, per the Constitution, while ACA is a Senate bill (with gut-and-replace not being a valid technique to avoid germaneness via-a-vis the Origination Clause). The Court will rule on that narrow point and then the next challenge will be heard.

    SCOTUS will never come out and say, "All aspects of ACA are Constitutional".

  • Re:Fuck Obamacare (Score:5, Informative)

    by beelsebob (529313) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @02:36PM (#46717609)

    Actually, in the UK, it really does work like that. Even if you're only visiting the UK for a 2 hour period, and manage to become seriously ill in that time, you'll get free treatment there.

  • by tompaulco (629533) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @02:42PM (#46717707) Homepage Journal
    I'm sure a lot of those people were already insured, but their insurers dropped them due to Obamacare. That has happened to a lot of people I know. It didn't happen to me, but it was practically the same thing. My Major Medical plan went from $242 a month to $960 a month, with no notice.So I was forced to drop the plan and seek other coverage. I used their stupid webpage to shop for coverage. Turns out that is a bad idea, as their web page is so incredibly sucky that you have to put your information in multiple times, they can never verify your identity, they will ask you to scan in an ID, but there is no link on your account to do so, etc. Andnow, I am one of the $7.1 million users of their wonderful system, according to them. No, I was fine before Obamacare, and now the best I can get is a plan that costs twice as much and doesn't cover as much. I chose the absolute cheapest bronze plan I could get, which was still twice what I was paying before.
  • by mmell (832646) <mike.mell@gmail.com> on Thursday April 10, 2014 @02:42PM (#46717711)
    I've used Medicaid in the past. Worked like a charm; I received needed medical care and as a result I'm not crippled for life.

    I'm between jobs again. I'm enrolled for insurance under the AHCA. I'm getting bills from my primary care physician's office because (despite what I was led to believe) I'm subject to a $5,200 individual deductable - and that was the BEST plan I saw offered under the AHCA. Incidentally, I'm not planning to pay that bill; at least, not until I find my next job.

    (PERSONAL OPINION FOLLOWS)

    I'll say this, though - as a mechanism to keep me in financial servitude, the AHCA is right up there with debtor's prison and serfdom as a model. I can reasonably foresee ending up a lifetime servant of the medical industry if I don't find myself a better way to pay for health care. Medicaid still exists, but there's no way to qualify for it now without facing a hefty fine. Either way, economic serfdom. Karl Marx would indeed be proud of the AHCA as a mechanism to propel a free enterprise society towards a socialist state.

  • by steveha (103154) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @02:54PM (#46717899) Homepage

    Other important questions: how many of those 7.1 million have actually paid for the policies, and how many just went through the web site? Also, how many of these policies are insuring the previously uninsured, and how many are insuring people who lost their previous insurance due to the ACA?

    I don't have those numbers. Nobody seems to have those numbers... Kathleen Sebelius has said "we don't know that" (see YouTube link below).

    I have a suspicion that if the numbers were good, somehow they would have the numbers.

    The DailyMail article says that a RAND Corporation study estimates that the number of previously uninsured people who have actually paid for their policies is: 858,000 (well under a million!). I haven't found a source for this. I believe they computed this number themselves, by reading the RAND report and by using the percentages in that report.

    Avik Roy read the same report, and reports the number as 1.4 million +/- 0.7 million, i.e. 700,000 people to 2.1 million people, 95% confidence.

    I believe this is the RAND Corporation study being discussed: http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR600/RR656/RAND_RR656.pdf [rand.org]

    References:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2594309/President-plans-victory-lap-strong-Obamacare-enrollment-Sebelius-faces-unpopular-law-blank-stare-tough-questions-remain-whos-signing-up.html [dailymail.co.uk]

    http://money.cnn.com/2014/01/30/news/economy/obamacare-premiums/ [cnn.com]

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXDdmRaJy2c [youtube.com]

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2014/04/09/rand-comes-clean-obamacares-exchanges-enrolled-only-1-4-million-previously-uninsured-individuals/ [forbes.com]

  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @03:02PM (#46717983) Homepage
    You my good sir had an opinion to start with and ignored all facts that disproved your opinion.

    Fact 1) 7.1 million were the number that signed up using exchange. NOT all the people that got insurance, just the number that signed up.

    Fact 2) It did not include the people that were told they were approved for Medicaid.

    Fact 3) It did not include the people that picked their own insurance not on the exchanges.

    Fact 4)It did not included the young people now signed up on their parents plans.

    You need to compare apples to apples. That is, 60 million without insurance before hand vs ??? million without insurance after hand. Trying to do 7.1/60 just demonstrates your complete inability to do honest math.

  • by sribe (304414) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @03:15PM (#46718189)

    First and foremost, Id like to see how many of these signups where actually Medicaid.

    None. That's 7.1 million enrolled in marketplace plans, which has nothing to do with Medicaid. Medicaid enrollment increased by 5.9 million. Enrollment in employer-sponsored health coverage increased by 8.2 million.

    (Please dont try to say they arent including the #s).

    Well, I am saying it, because it's true ;-)

    Now, how many of the 7.1 were people who had some kind of insurance prior: not yet known. How many of the new enrollees in Medicaid previously had other insurance and lost it: unknown. Certainly the number of people with health insurance did not increase by 21.2 (7.1 + 5.9 + 8.2) million, so don't even think about responding to me using a strawman argument that I'm claiming so.

    more info here [thehealthcareblog.com]

    A few have been able to enroll in Medicaid since the expansion, but that's really not ACA is it?

    The Medicaid expansion is part of the Affordable Care Act. What exactly were you trying to say???

  • by n1ywb (555767) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @03:16PM (#46718195) Homepage Journal

    Old plan: https://swp.mvphealthcare.com/... [mvphealthcare.com]

    New Plan, closest to old plan AFAICT: http://www.discovermvp.com/con... [discovermvp.com]

    A big part of the difference is the cost of covering my kids. On the old plan, they were covered at a MUCH lower rate than my wife and I, only $121/mo. On the new plan it's pretty much the same for all of us, $400. To add insult to injury if I made somewhat less each year my kids would qualify for Dr. Dynasaur (VT expanded medicare for kids) which would be only $60/mo and of course my wife and I could get federal subidies for our coverage but then I couldn't pay my other bills. It's a catch 22. I'm glad somebody's getting something good out of obama care because I feel like I'm getting taken out to the woodshed. My only hope is that Vermont rolls out single payer on schedule and it sucks less.

    VT has had relatively strict health insurance laws for some time. E.g. vermont insurers cannot discriminate by prexisting conditions if the customer has had continuous coverage. If you let your coverage drop you're screwed though. Well that's changed now I suppose.

  • Re:Fuck Obamacare (Score:4, Informative)

    by raydobbs (99133) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @03:27PM (#46718297) Homepage Journal

    BS - You pay unless your a college student, a citizen from another European Union country that signed an agreement with the NHS, or other select cases

    From the NHS - http://www.nhs.uk/chq/pages/10... [www.nhs.uk]

  • by sribe (304414) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @04:13PM (#46718873)

    In the first year of Obamacare we will still have more uninsured than in the last year of the Bush administration

    Bullshit. Best estimate I've seen [thehealthcareblog.com] is that right now, today, the number of uninsured has been decreased by about 25%.

    7.1 million sign ups out of over 300 million people for a "mandatory" participation program is truly pathetic regardless whether it is above or below what was expected. Yes yes, I know the number of uninsured was closer to 60 million, so basically you are getting adoption among the intended uninsured population of just 12%. Just 12% of uninsured people are choosing Obamacare/ACA, that is what is remarkable.

    Your comment is complete fucking nonsense. 1) Of course, as you sort of admit, out of 330 million people, there are about 300 million with some form of health insurance. 2) There were 40 million without health insurance, not 60 million. 3) In addition to whatever fraction of the 7.1 million were previously uninsured, several million more have been added by the Medicaid expansion. 4) In addition to whatever fraction of the 7.1 million were previously uninsured, several million more have been added to employer-sponsored programs.

  • by sribe (304414) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @04:37PM (#46719187)

    What a lot of crap.

    When the number was 6 million, the breakdown was roughly 3 million new on Medicaid, 2 million thanks to the "stay on your parents plan till 25" stuff, 1 million new exchange plans (and many, many million who lost their company plans).

    Right, the number on the exchange was never 6 million. (It was 3.9 million in mid-March, and jumped to 7.1 million by the end of March, and I'm pretty sure there was no announcement in between.)

    Now the numbers are 7.1 million on the exchange, 5.9 million new on Medicaid, and 8.2 million new on employer-sponsored insurance, for a net increase of probably 9.3 million after accounting for those who just shuffled from one form of insurance to another. WHICH YOU WOULD KNOW IF YOU HAD BOTHERED TO CLICK THE LINK I PROVIDED TO ACTUAL SOLID DATA, INSTEAD OF JUST SPEWING YOUR PATHETIC MISINFORMED FUCKING TROLLING!

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