Aside from the million or so insureds who never made a payment on their premium, or dropped their coverage somewhere between the end of open enrollment in March and the end of summer, the press and Obamacare supporters had comfortably settled on the number of 7 million Americans who signed up for Obamacare insurance policies.
In the immortal words of Independence Day’s Secretary of Defense Albert Nimzicki, “That’s not entirely accurate.”
The Obama administration said it erroneously calculated the number of people with health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, incorrectly adding 380,000 dental subscribers to raise the total above 7 million.
The accurate number with full health-care plans is 6.7 million as of Oct. 15, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed today, saying the U.S. won’t include dental plans in future reports.
“The mistake we made is unacceptable,” Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said on her verified Twitter account. “I will be communicating that clearly throughout the department.”
The error was brought to light by Republican investigators for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, using data they obtained from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“A mistake was made in calculating the number of individuals with effectuated Marketplace enrollments,” said Kevin Griffis, a spokesman for the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. “Individuals who had both Marketplace medical and dental coverage were erroneously counted in our recent announcements,” he said in an e-mail.
The new count puts enrollment short of a 2013 estimate by the Congressional Budget Office, adopted last year as a goal by the Obama administration, that 7 million people would be enrolled this year. Federal officials said in September they had 7.3 million people enrolled in coverage through new government-run insurance exchanges. They didn’t distinguish between medical and dental plans, breaking from previous practice without notice.
he administration had supplied information about dental plans separately in earlier disclosures. In May, the government reported that 8 million were signed up for health plans and 1.1 million were in dental coverage.
Then in September, the numbers became less transparent. The Medicare agency’s administrator, Marilyn Tavenner, released a new enrollment figure, obtained from insurance companies participating in the exchanges: 7.3 million people were “enrolled in the health insurance marketplace coverage,” she said at a hearing by the Republican-led Oversight committee.
Tavenner didn’t elaborate or break out dental plans. Reporters asked a spokesman for her agency, Aaron Albright, for more detail on the number after the hearing: He said he had no additional information about it.
“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,” Republican Darrell Issa of California, chairman of the Oversight committee, said in an e-mail from a spokeswoman.
Not exactly a Friday document dump, but equally dishonest considering that the president will deliver his amnesty speech tonight and the Ferguson grand jury is likely to announce its decision tomorrow. What a surprise, More Obamacare bad news will get buried in the news cycle.
I really wish someone would explain to me why if Obamacare is such a great and good thing, have they done nothing but lie, obscure, and obfuscate the truth about it since day one? They lied about the cost. They lied about the taxes. They lied about the subsidies. They lied about abortion. They lied about being able to keep your plan if you liked it. They lied about being able to keep your doctor. And now it’s confirmed they lied about the numbers.
Then there are the parts of Obamacare that are so bad, the president felt it necessary to delay them until after the mid term elections in order to blunt their political effect. They delayed open enrollment for a month — from October to November, 2014 — just in case they had more website problems. They delayed the cancellation of Obamacare plans that did not meet the law’s requirements. They delayed revealing rate increases until after the election. They delayed the employer mandate. They delayed the small business exchanges. And the delay in finishing the backend of the website may be permanent considering the fact that they have yet to figure out how to make it work.
All told, there were 24 unilateral actions by President Obama to delay implementing the law. There have been so many changes that the Congressional Budget Office has given up trying to figure out how much the law costs.
In China, when bureaucrats and leaders screw up this badly, they are tried and sometimes executed. I’m not saying we should adopt such a draconian policy, but surely there must be some consequences for exhibiting such incompetence.
The tens of billions already spent on this law and the billions spent on dysfunctional state exchanges may represent the largest waste of taxpayer’s money on a single government program in American history.
For a president who wanted to “make history,” he has succeeded in this case beyond his wildest imaginings.