White House Overhypes Obamacare Enrollment, Again



Yesterday evening, not long after the official (but not actual) end of Obamacare's open enrollment period, the White House Twitter feed posted some breaking news: "About 11.4 million Americans are signed up for private health coverage," the tweet said, posting the information with the hashtag #ACAWorks.

It is in some ways remarkable that the White House can provide this information so quickly. Not because the information should be hard to collect, but because other similar information often eludes the administration.

As Bloomberg News health care reporter Alex Wayne noted on Twitter earlier today during a Q&A session with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell, the administration "still can't tell us how many people were enrolled in Obamacare at the end of 2014."

Perhaps this is just caution given that in congressional testimony Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner inadvertently over-reported enrollment by about 400,000 last year, counting a large group of dental plans that should not have been included in the total.

But it follows a familiar pattern. When the news looks good, it comes out quickly and is said to exceed expectations. Thus when it fails to come out, one suspects it does not look quite so good.

We saw this last year, when the administration bragged of 8 million enrollments—a full million above the Congressional Budget Office's original expectations, and double that over the CBO's revised estimates after the website crashed. Eventually, the administration indicated that the number was closer to 7 million. Then, minus the dental plans, even less.

In any case, the Obamacare sign-up numbers the White House is now touting are also less impressive than advertised. After noting the sign-up numbers in a video, President Obama said that the law is "working a little bit better than we anticipated."

But not all of the sign-ups will end up paying for insurance throughout the year. As The Manhattan Institute's Avik Roy writes at Forbes, only about 84 percent of sign-ups are likely to translate into paid coverage. That drops the total down to about 9.5 million—still within the 9-10 million enrollment target range set by the administration last November. But that target, when it was announced, represented a significant scaling back of the Congressional Budget Office's initial estimates for second-year enrollment. To the extent that the law exceeded White House expectations, it's only because the administration previously adjusted them downward.

Overall enrollment in private exchange plans slowed significantly this round, as Roy notes. The totals provided for the White House include those renewing coverage they obtained during the first open enrollment period last year—somewhere shy of 7 million, now that dental plans have been excluded. Depending on how the exact totals work out, then, it appears as if the health law added roughly half as many new enrollees this time out. The CBO last April projected that enrollment would almost double, from about 7 million to about 13 million.

This performance may exceed the White House's expectations, but by other measures it is underwhelming. 

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    O!care is the living embodiment of the free market!!!!


  2. And our very own ButtPig posts the propaganda all over the site.

  3. Ends justify the means.

  4. “About 11.4 million Americans are signed up for private health coverage,”

    plus or minus 11.4 million.

    1. How many of those have actually payed for it and are covered? Or are all of these folks who got dumped into Medicare?

      1. “I’m sorry. We don’t collect those sorts of data.”

      2. And let’s not forget that they canceled policies on 6+ million, all of whom had to come to Ocare in order to have any health insurance.

        Voluntary compliance is easy to obtain when it is required and you strip away the alternatives from those who must have it. Yet… what about those 40 million or so they touted as not having any insurance whatsoever? Doesn’t that mean that despite being required by law, there is no more than a 25% compliance, otherwise considered a dismal failure?

  5. The administration then went on to announce that America’s chocolate ration has been increased to 20 grams.

    1. You don’t even know what socialism means!

      1. ok bozo – why don’t you enlighten us. Or was that merely a threat.

  6. OT: man without dick now thinks he should be paid to beat up women.


    The FUCK?!?!? Grantland is really trying to take the fucking MOONBAT mantle away from Huffpo. See: Bill Simmons fawning interview of Lena Dunham. Gives “sycophant” awhole new meaning…

    1. “I don’t know about you, but after 13 years on hormone replacement therapy, I can’t even open a jar.”

      “Oh, I think you could open *me*.”

    2. Grantland is the worst. Bill Simmons has become the most insufferable writer on the planet, his shtick has become as tiresome as his politics.

      1. But you have to go there to read Jonah Keri, Zach Lowe and Bill Barnwell. Who are all good writers everything else is dreck.

      2. God, lately he has been so fucking MILITANT about burnishing his liberal SJW bona-fides that I wonder if he is planning on running for office…

        1. Barnwell is the shit, tho…

          1. Agreed.

    3. CK: It has to be frustrating to have an ex-comic treated as a credible source on this subject for the MMA audience.

      I don’t like Joe Rogan (because he’s a paid UFC hype man “oh this will be the biggest fight EVER, bigger than the last “biggest fight EVER” and I don’t find him funny) but to say that he can’t be a credible source on MMA because he’s a comic? Come on now. Christina, if I go through your DVR and see the names Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert, there’s going to be a problem.

      Going back to Joe Rogan’s credibility, he actually does have a significant amount of credibility as a competitive martial artist. He was a US taekwondo champion and has a black belt from Eddie Bravo and another from Jean Machado in jujitsu. So I feel better about Joe Rogan analyzing fights and potential fights than I do Christina Kahrl.

      1. Don’t think Christina is an actual woman either (don’t fucking care who that offends) and Jean Machado is a fucking PHENOMENAL grappler. And he has one hand.

  7. there’s such a disconnect. every day I’m more depressed. thanks reason.

  8. I was told on this very blog that there were something like 30-45 million people who were uninsured and we needed to get Obamacare because these people were just not able to get it. Why doesn’t this administration care about all people still uninsured?

    1. Oh, but it does care. It cares so much that it’s going to fine those uninsured when they do their taxes.

      1. Did I say fine? I meant tax. Er, penaltax. Or something. Either way, it’s done with love. And if they can’t afford to pay it, then they will be lovingly locked up in a cage where they’ll get all the free medical care that they need in between random beatings and forced acts of sodomy.

        1. They’re going to postpone the penaltax indefinitely so that the democrats don’t get eviscerated again for the next 10 election cycles.

          And ButtPlug has already assured us that the law doesn’t depend on the penaltax and nothing can ever take it down because it’s so wonderful.

    2. honestly they don’t care much about anyone or else they wouldn’t have imposed this on the American people. Just about everyone is getting screwed by it in one way or the other( higher costs, lower quality healthcare, higher taxes less jobs/economic opportunity etc…)
      Those people who still support Obamacare are either in denial or refusing to admit what a fucking stupid idea it was to support it in the first place.

  9. Oh, by the way, in a TRIUMPH of government health-care, peopel will now start FLOCKING to Cuba to get affordable (and BETTER!!) healthcare than they can get here!!! IT says so in the New York Times!!!!


    I guess some people (read: NYT reporters) will believe anything…

    1. If healthcare consists of drinking cuban rum and smoking cuban cigars, and maybe some cuban hookers, then ok, I believe it, otherwise, no.

      Look, Cubans are driving around in 60 year old automobiles that they have learned to patch together and keep running. Do you really think that the government sponsored health care system if a modern marvel of technology unrivaled in the world? Where are the pictures? I have a bridge in Cuba to sell to some NYT writers.

      It’s true that people are going to start going out of the country to get healthcare, but Cuba won’t be on that agenda for anyone.

      1. Hey, by the way, Hype, I saw you mention Arundell Mills the other day, and was wondering where you live. I am just down in Laurel and go to A M Live casino for my ramen fix when I need it…

        1. I live in Balmer, Mt. Washington, but I go to Ellicott City a lot, and Columbia, and Arundell Mills. My wife only wants to shop in Howard County, and we buy most of our food at the Asian Markets in EC. Almost all of my co-workers live in EC also.

          Haven’t been over to Laurel for a while. Thinking about moving back to Howard County, but not sure yet. I spend so much time in Howard county though, that it would make sense in a way.

          I don’t do the Casino thing, never have. Have you been to the Horseshoe in Balmer?

          1. Nah, I just go to the casino to get ramen because the ramen is really good and it is closer to me than any other decent shop. Out in Columbia (where I go a lot ) they have a lot of decent restaurants – like Pho Dat Thanh and also Pub Dog Pizza. And, of course, Victoria Gastropub. Should grab a beer some time…

            1. Victoria Gastropub… hmm, that sounds familiar but I’ve never been there.

              We don’t really eat out that much anymore, since both of us like to cook, maybe once or twice a month we’ll try to find a new restaurant to check out. And the one time a month that I get an irresistible craving for 5 guys cheeseburger, (:

              Yeah, we’ll have to do a beer sometime.

              1. Hit me up on gmail, same name with a period in between. And if there are any other reasonoid get-togethers in the area. I’m not really on any mailing lists…

              2. If you go to Victoria’s you must get the duck fat fries. They are the best, with the exception of the truffle fries at Pure Wine in Ellicott City 🙂

    2. The Cuban doctors are well educated but the technology is pathetic and are still using procedures from the 1980’s and 1990’s because of it. Since they no longer are supported by the soviets they can’t even get Soviet technologies anymore.
      Not the best idea to fly down there for a medical procedure – you may not like the outcome.

  10. OT: Ron Paul continues to up the challenge level for his son’s ambitions.

    “Matter of fact, can’t you just see the difference that might have occurred. Ya know, they knew where Bin Laden was. I don’t think they really wanted to catch him because he was used as the excuse for us, you know, invading various countries and building up the military,” Paul said on Scott Horton’s radio program.

    1. Come on, Ron. Enjoy your retirement fund and spend time with the grandkids and great-grandkids. You’ve been speaking out for 30 years, do you really need to keep talking?

    2. Ron,

      Sometimes, silence is the best response.

    3. At some point Rand might want to look into putting his old man in a home.


      1. Please stop….

        All you are doing is giving the man the oxygen of publicity.

  11. Push those goal posts far enough and Cuba looks like a success!

  12. Where is the staged photo with all of the white coats?

  13. It is in some ways remarkable that the White House can provide this information so quickly. Not because the information should be hard to collect, but because other similar information often eludes the administration.

    It’s not remarkable. This information should basically be retrievable with “select count(*) from Enrollees with (nolock) where IsEnrolled = 1 and PlanType ‘dentalPlan'” or something similar. This is basic database shit.

    The administration lies though its teeth in every single thing it says and does. I can’t believe that anyone would ever think otherwise or believe anything they say for a second.

    1. nerd

      1. delete from CurrentPlans where username = ‘Playa Manhattan’

          1. Our dba has that on his wall.

        1. You forgot the semicolon.

          1. Line terminators are optional in T-SQL.

            1. Nice save attempt. But everyone knows that you are doing MS Access SQL. You probably even build your queries in the designer and have it generate the SQL for you.

    2. You forgot to include the ‘hide the decline’ function. That’s a requirement in every government or scientific based TSQL statement these days.

      1. That’s been deprecated in favor of fytw().

  14. Try as the government might, it can’t be that hard to get people to sign up for insurance when you threaten to fine them if they refuse.

    Not that I signed up or anything like that. I’m still gloriously uninsured. And I learned that the fine can be waived if the plan my employer offered me was more than 8% of my income. What they offered was 7%, which is obviously affordable and I’m a deadbeat for not buying into it.

    1. The law has never been popular, but they keep delaying parts of it to keep people from finding out just how really awful that it is.

      When people sign up and have to pay for the shit because they don’t want to get fined and then find out they have a 6, 7, or 8 thousand dollar deductible and they are basically going to be paying most everything out of pocket, this law is only going to get more unpopular. The very people who supported it most, are going to be the ones screaming the loudest.

      1. This degree to which this is going to continue to fuck people is unprecedented. It’s a testament to the unparalleled stupidity of Obama and his people that they would force something this idiotic through. They’re already going to the mat to obfuscate and hide and push off the pain it will cause, and it’s just fucking started.

        It’s going to be interesting to see how bad this gets, and how loud the screaming about it will become.


        2. Yes, though I do wonder if staggering the implementation as they are will soften the blow. It will continue to screw over a lot of people, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the backlash is diffuse and fails to congeal into anything influential. Especially if there are legislative adjustments along the way, to make it seem like “something” is being done about it and you need to wait before you can criticize.

      2. The very people who supported it most, are going to be the ones screaming the loudest.

        …for SINGUL PAYER!!111!!!1!!!!! Because MARKKKIT FAILYUR!!!11!!111!!!!!!!1!!!

    2. I’m still gloriously uninsured.

      WRECKER!!!! KULAK!!!!11!!!!

  15. “To the extent that the law exceeded White House expectations, it’s only because the administration previously adjusted them downward.”

    “What?! “Sandbagging“?? I’ve never heard of such a thing! Whomever suggested this is probably just jealous and wants to undermine our glorious successes “signing people up to a program at the point of a gun”. Which is not as easy as you might think! I mean, *who’s ever actually built a website that worked most of the time*? Be realistic.

    These achievements should not be tempered by cynics who say that people are actually being forced to spend more for the same shit. Why do they hate coverage? Everyone should have coverage! Coverage coverage coverage coverage. What’s that you say? ‘Deductible’? I’m afraid you’re going to have to talk to our economists about these highly-technical terms; we don’t bother ourselves with those sorts of details.”

  16. So 11.4 million did not really sign up because in the future there will be no-pays/cancels?

    Really. Critics are really trying too hard now.

    DEATH SPIRAL!!!! just doesn’t work anymore.

    1. Lemme guess: when this proves to be the flaming turd that it will be, you are going to say that the GOVERNMENT DIDN’T GO FAR ENOUGH AND SINGLE PAYER WILL WORK!!!! RIGHT?!?!?

      1. You would be wrong. I am opposed to single payer. I am opposed to Medicare/caid.

        1. Turd lies. That’s all turd does.
          Well maybe 8% of the time, he tells half-truths.
          But turd lies.

    2. So 11.4 million did not really sign up because in the future there will be no-pays/cancels?

      Unless you are trying for meaningless scoreboarding, then there’s no reason to count someone who isn’t insured because they didn’t pay the premium, is there?

      1. Of course they count, and when their broke, no-insurance-havin’ ass signs up again in the next OE, you count ’em again.

  17. Let’s not forget, either, that OCare started @ 5mm in the hole, because that’s the number of people who lost their coverage due to OCare (as best as we can tell).

    So the net increase is only @ 6mm, at best. Which means that perhaps half of the increased population in the US since OCare went into effect now has private health insurance. The other half must be either uninsured or on a government welfare program (Medicaid, Medicare, etc.).

    Even if you don’t count the people who lost coverage, OCare has barely managed to keep up with the increase in population.

    What a huge effing victory.

  18. I too am among the gloriously uninsured. Haven’t done taxes yet. Are we getting banged for the 1 or 2% penalty this year? Anybody know what this looks like on the 1040 form?

  19. Sounds like a very good plan to me dude.


  20. Overhypes? No. Another bald-faced lie? Yes.

  21. Six months ago I lost my job and after that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a great website which literally saved me. I started working for them online and in a short time after I’ve started averaging 15k a month… The best thing was that cause I am not that computer savvy all I needed was some basic typing skills and internet access to start…
    This is where to start???.

    ?????????? http://www.netpay20.com

  22. Any program that is a wage and price control scheme will produce higher costs and shortages. Did we learn nothing from FDR and Nixon ?

  23. Can anybody tell me the number of “enrollees” that HAD insurance before they were kicked off coverage necessitating getting on the exchange? I know one of those “11” million who was happy with better deductible, cheaper monthly rate, and nearly equivalent coverage.
    No one in the media seems to want to analyze the basic question about whether the figures these liars promote really support the idea that Obamacare has made insurance more available, cheaper, better than it was before.

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