This week's Obamacare headlines have been dominated by HHS' announcement that 365,000 Americans have selected a plan through Obamacare's federal and state exchanges -- well short of the administration's projected goal of 800,000 enrollees by December 1st. Allahpundit explains why that government's official number is misleadingly high:
Three huge caveats to the 365,000 figure. One: As Phil Klein notes in the excerpt, by HHS’s own admission, some of them are duplicates. And the fact that they felt obliged to admit that in a report that they’re desperately trying to spin as good news suggests that “some” isn’t an insignificant number. Two: As you hopefully already understand, “sign-ups” aren’t the same as “enrollments.” HHS’s original targets for O-Care were based on the assumption that people would be fully enrolled with their new insurers and ready to go with coverage on January 1. But because they’re desperate for positive publicity, they tweaked that metric so that anyone who’s tried to sign up and gotten as far as choosing a plan, even if they haven’t actually purchased it yet, counts in terms of them hitting their target. The actual number of people who’ve enrolled, not just “signed up,” is a well-kept secret. Three: As you also know by now, even if you’ve pulled the trigger on a plan and enrolled with an insurance company, your enrollment isn’t valid until you’ve paid your first month of premiums.
The duplication issue is part and parcel of the 834 error rate snags that continue to plague Healthcare.gov's back end. The "selected a plan" verbiage is a flat-out trick, which we've discussed many times. Obamacare administrators are counting people who've browsed the website and placed a plan in their virtual shopping cart -- but who never finished the process by checking out -- as "enrolled." That's a bogus metric. It's even more bogus when you recall the last point in bold. People are not covered unless and until they've made their first premium payment. I've made this point before, which Kathleen Sebelius helpfully reinforced during Congressional testimony on Wednesday:
Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX): What if that patient doesn’t make the premium payment? You said they’re covered Dec. 23, but they never write the check. They never make the payment.
Sebelius: Then they’re not covered. They are not enrolled, and at every point along the way, on the website they are told until they make the payment—
So far more important than HHS' raw, ginned-up enrollment figures is the composition of that pool. First, are enough new sign-ups coming from so-called young invincibles? Early clues aren't looking promising, and the White House's radio silence on this point is the most damning evidence of all. If the risk pool looked healthy, Obama and Sebelius would be shouting it from the rooftops. Instead, they're saying nothing (probably because they can see the data that backs up this assessment). And second, how many of these "enrollees" have made the requisite payments to guarantee coverage starting in January? That's been another mystery, with one small (and worrisome) data point emerging last week. Now we're getting more information on this question, and if industry sources' estimates are even close to accurate, they foretell another Obamacare catastrophe. Via lefty journalist Charles Ornstein:
More of article at link: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2013/12/12/report-less-than-15-percent-of-obamacare-enrollees-are-actually-covered-n1761300?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook