May 22, 2014

IF THEY’RE COVERING IT UP, IT’S NOT BECAUSE THE NEWS IS GOOD. Where Did the Obamacare Data Go?

The most transparent administration in history has reportedly decided to discontinue the monthly Affordable Care Act enrollment reports now that open enrollment is closed. And why shouldn’t it? you ask. After all, open enrollment is, well, closed.

But while the official open enrollment period is closed, that doesn’t mean that activity on the health-insurance exchanges has shut down. People who have experienced a “qualifying life event” — getting a job, having a baby or moving to another state, among others — are still eligible to enroll in an exchange policy.

Meanwhile, other people will be exiting the system — they will get a job that has benefits, marry someone with benefits, or just stop making their payments and go without insurance. The Barack Obama administration should by now be getting fairly accurate estimates of how many of the 8 million enrollees they reported are actually in the system. It is disappointing in the extreme that they would stop reporting these figures just as more accurate data is becoming available.

Moreover, it’s hard to understand why it would stop reporting. Pulling together a report takes work, of course. But it’s not like it needs to do extensive research in order to gather much of this data; it needs to know the numbers in order to run the system.

Politics take precedence over policy, or competence. Every time.