The news got somewhat lost amidst all the headlines about Jonathan Gruber duping the American voters, but the Obama Administration lied about the number of people who are enrolled under Obamacare. Well, maybe “lied” is a strong word. But we were definitely “Grubered” over the number. In their desperate attempt to inflate the number of Obamacare enrollees to 7 million (the number forecasted by the Congressional Budget Office), the administration included enrollees who merely applied for dental coverage.
Yep… Dental coverage. Almost 400,000 dental plans were included by the Obama Administration when they announced the official number of Obamacare enrollees. Of course, these dental plans aren’t exactly the contraception-including health coverage that is required to avoid an IRS
tax penalty under the Affordable Care Act; but I guess it’s close enough for government work.
Officials have since acknowledged their “mistake”, and have promised to do things differently moving forward. And we obviously have no reason to doubt that this was all one big misunderstanding, right?
I mean, it was most likely coincidental that these dental (non-qualifying plans) were deceptively added to the official tally of enrollees, just as the sign-ups were leveling off and drop-out rates were increasing. As Darrell Issa (R-People’s Republic of California) pointed out to Bloomberg News:
“After touting 8 million initial sign-ups for medical plans, four months later they engaged in a concerted effort to obscure a heavy drop-out rate of perhaps a million or more enrollees by quietly adding in dental plan sign-ups to exchange numbers.”
In other words: It almost seems like the Administration doesn’t really want to be honest about Obamacare enrollments. And there’s probably a good reason: They convinced the American people that enrollments would be the major test for the law’s success. A less-than-stellar performance is likely to deteriorate the already anemic support it has among the citizenry. You can probably bet that things would be a bit different if Obamacare was a rousing success. Heck, the monthly enrollment numbers would likely be the headline story on most media outlets, and the White House would be trumpeting testimonials every chance they get.
Instead, we have continued efforts to obscure and conceal the impact of the law. In November, the Health and Human Services Secretary, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, told the Center for American Progress that 7.1 million people were signed up through Obamacare. That number was roughly 200,000 less than her department reported in August; and it still included those non-qualifying dental plans. Even more important, is that her comments came after the department was made aware of their impropriety.
In addition to questionable advertising techniques, and numeric tinkering, the Obama Administration has been engaged in a relentless campaign to redefine what “success” means for the law. Knowing full well that the law is incapable of lowering healthcare prices, the White House has repeatedly pointed out that healthcare prices are rising “the slowest rate in 50 years.”
Unfortunately for Obamacare fans, this isn’t exactly attributable to the Affordable Care Act. Healthcare inflation was slowing down before Obamacare, in large part because of a gradual shift toward high-deductible insurance plans, and because of a lagging economy. Inflation in almost all areas has slowed, in large part because of an economic environment where consumers are experiencing zero wage growth, and anemic job creation… In other words, Obamanomics is more responsible for the slowdown in healthcare costs than the ACA.
The Administration has also tried to sell the idea that more people are suddenly getting insurance. And while this might be true, it is impossible to tell how many of these newly insured are covered through the law’s Medicaid expansion. Much like the official number of Obamacare enrollees, the Administration refuses to be open about such details… They are either intentionally vague about these details in an effort to blunt objective criticism, or they are merely incompetent and don’t actually have specific details.
Unfortunately, both options are fairly believable from this regime.
Of course, none of this should come as a surprise. Healthcare reform began as a manufactured “crises” that was more focused on selling a political candidate, than fixing a problem. People like Jonathan Gruber helped orchestrate an intentional misinformation campaign to pass the Affordable Care Act. And he did this, in part, because the “solutions” proposed within the bill were both unpopular and largely unneeded among the vast majority of Americans. And now that this bureaucratic monstrosity is being (arbitrarily) implemented upon the American people, a little more obfuscation is apparently needed to disguise the ill-effects of big government from “we the people”.
So, Democrats lied and fibbed to pass their reform. Now they are being forced to exaggerate and deceive in order to implement it… How exactly do you think this will end? Do you think everything will suddenly start panning out, prices will begin to drop, and the uninsured will flock to a working website so they can sign up for comprehensive (and “affordably” cheap) healthcare plans?
Or, do you think it will end up like its namesake in the White House: Ineffective, unpopular, and burdensome on the civilian economy?