In the “lies, d-mned lies, and statistics” category comes a report the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released Saturday, in conjunction with a Zoom call from presidents Joe Biden and Barack Obama promoting Obamacare.
The report wants you to believe more than 30 million people obtained coverage because of Obamacare. But the Biden administration knows that number isn’t true. So instead of discussing people “newly insured” by the law, it talks about those who were merely “enrolled in coverage related to” Obamacare.
But just because people are enrolled in coverage “related to” Obamacare now doesn’t mean they were uninsured before. That explains why, although the report highlights a reduction in the uninsured rate, it doesn’t advertise the reduction in the number of uninsured individuals. That number is much lower than 30 million, but the Biden administration doesn’t want to let facts get in the way of a good narrative.
Counting Those Obamacare Kicked Off Prior Coverage
Remember the millions of people who received cancellation notices in fall 2013, just before Obamacare’s main provisions took effect? Those notices went to at least 4.7 million people, by one count, leading PolitiFact to call Obama’s repeated claims that “If you like your plan, you can keep it” its “Lie of the Year.”
But including each person enrolled in exchange coverage in its 30 million number allows the HHS report to take “credit” for the people Obamacare forced off their prior plans onto more expensive Obamacare ones. It also takes credit for people like me—someone who had employer-sponsored health insurance well before Obamacare, but is now stuck paying absurd prices for coverage I don’t necessarily need or want.
Counting Those Eligible for Medicaid Before Obamacare
The report includes nearly 3.9 million people who were eligible for Medicaid before Obamacare, but who now fall into the expansion group for able-bodied adults. Some states had expanded Medicaid to able-bodied adults prior to Obamacare, but those individuals are still included in the report.
Obamacare apologists might argue its promotion encouraged these individuals to enroll in coverage, a phenomenon often called the “welcome mat” or “woodwork” effect
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