How Many Newly Insured? The Obama Administration Forgot to Ask


obamacare1The Washington Post’s report on two surveys suggesting that Obamacare’s heavily taxpayer-subsidized exchanges “appear to be making little headway in signing up Americans who lack insurance,” contains this additional nugget about the Obama administration’s level of foresight and competence:

“Inside the Department of Health and Human Services, staff analysts who have been producing monthly enrollment updates are confronted with a major hindrance to examining the question of people’s prior insurance status: the wording of the applications themselves.

“The paper versions of applications, used by a small fraction of people who are signing up, contain a multiple-choice question asking whether people in a household currently have insurance. ‘No’ is one of the boxes people can check.

“But the online application, which most people use to enroll, asks whether people want to apply for coverage but does not give them a place to indicate whether they have insurance now or have had it in the past. As a result, HHS analysts have no way to assess how many of the online enrollees were uninsured in the past.

“‘We are…looking at a range of data sources to determine how many marketplace enrollees previously had coverage,’ said Julie Bataille, director of the Office of Communications at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the HHS agency overseeing the new insurance marketplaces. ‘Previous insurance coverage is an important metric, and we hope to have additional information in the future,’ she said.”

And we’re supposed to believe that the folks at HHS can handle being in charge of what will soon be one-fifth of our economy?


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