Democrats are picking up where they left off in 2013, lying to the public about Obamacare. The president says his signature program has signed up more than nine million Americans so far through the state exchanges and Medicaid expansion. He's made this claim on numerous occasions, including last month's State of the Union address, and during his Super Bowl Sunday conversation with Bill O'Reilly. We've noted that the president's math doesn't add up; his exchange enrollment figures don't factor in a substantial subset of non-payments, which experts estimate to be in the vicinity of 600,000. An Obamacare official admitted in recent Congressional testimony that the administration does not have a good handle on those numbers because much of Healthcare.gov's back end is still under construction. Beyond that, only a small fraction of "new" enrollees were previously uninsured -- not to mention the administration's expansive definition of what qualifies as an enrollment. As for the Medicaid expansion, Sean Trende noticed that roughly half of the new (supposedly Obamacare-caused) sign-ups have occurred in states that....didn't expand Medicaid under Obamacare. An independent study has concluded that less than one-third of new Medicaid sign-ups are a result of the 'Affordable' Care Act. The Washington Post's fact-checker dings Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) with 'four pinnochios' for repeating the White House line:
Even if one took the high end of these estimates, the most one could claim is that about 4 million people have gained insurance because the Affordable Care Act, but that’s being extraordinarily generous. In the meantime, given the fuzzy nature of the numbers and the wide publicity devoted to the recent surveys, Durbin has little excuse for going on national television and claiming that every one of these people had been previously [un]insured. This has now become a Four Pinocchio violation.
Here's another quote from the president's interaction with O'Reilly, which we highlighted in our Obamacare video last week:
"Now it's working the way it's supposed to..."
Obama asserted that Healthcare.gov and its related sites are working properly. Read Bob Laszewski's review of how things are really looking, which serves as a strong rebuttal to the president. A taste of the to-do list:
- - Problems with the government sending enrollment transactions to the carriers––the 834s––that are still having error rates much too high for high volume processing.
- - The inability of the government to do an automated enrollment reconciliation with the carriers––to be able to sort out who really is covered and who is not––because that system still hasn't been built.
- - The inability of the government to pay carriers because that system hasn't been built––carriers are sending estimated bills to the feds.
- - The inability of the government to add and delete people from the system for things like a newborn or a divorce because that system hasn't been built yet.
- - The inability of the government to handle appeals when people think their eligibility or subsidy calculation is wrong because that system hasn't been built yet.
- - The inability of the government to cancel people off of Healthcare.gov because they never built that functionality. As a result, I expect they will be reporting bloated enrollment numbers for some time.
And don't forget the ongoing data security woes, reminders of which boiled over in Alaska and Virginia late last week. Meanwhile, in California, the state's exchange has withdrawn Obamacare physician lists for the second time due to maddening inaccuracies:
After overcoming website glitches and long waits to get Obamacare, some patients are now running into frustrating new roadblocks at the doctor's office. A month into the most sweeping changes to healthcare in half a century, people are having trouble finding doctors at all, getting faulty information on which ones are covered and receiving little help from insurers swamped by new business. Experts have warned for months that the logjam was inevitable. But the extent of the problems is taking by surprise many patients — and even doctors — as frustrations mount.
"Working the way it's supposed to."