Shifting the Numbers

We’ve gotten used to the numbers game this Administration plays with Obamacare. It was going to ensure thirty million. No twenty million. No ten million. We have seven million signed up! Well, they haven’t all paid. And five million previously had insurance. And insurance rates are going down! Well, they’re actually going up. And the number of uninsured is the lowest in five years! Well, that just brings us back to pre-recession levels — a level that meant people were dying in the streets when Bush was President but means progress now that Obama is.

Still, even with all that, this is pretty blatant:

The Census Bureau, the authoritative source of health insurance data for more than three decades, is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall, census officials said.

The changes are intended to improve the accuracy of the survey, being conducted this month in interviews with tens of thousands of households around the country. But the new questions are so different that the findings will not be comparable, the officials said.

An internal Census Bureau document said that the new questionnaire included a “total revision to health insurance questions” and, in a test last year, produced lower estimates of the uninsured. Thus, officials said, it will be difficult to say how much of any change is attributable to the Affordable Care Act and how much to the use of a new survey instrument.

The Census Bureau estimates this will reduce the number of estimated uninsured by two percentage points — from 12.5% to 10.6%. That’s basically six million people — which is about two-thirds of what Obamacare is supposed to accomplish. In other words, a real decline in the uninsured of 9 million could look like 15 million or even more simply because the changes in the way the Census does things.

To be fair, these changes have been needed for a while and are driven by technical experts at the Census Bureau, not the Administration. Conservatives have long complained that the methodology overestimates the number of uninsured. But to quote Megan McArdle, it doesn’t matter if these changes are coming from elves at the north pole. It would be well within the President’s authority to delay the changes so we can get a clear read on the effects of PPACA.

Do you think any liberal pundits will take note of this? A few years ago, both the NCVS and FBI changed their methodology when calculating rape statistics. This didn’t stop feminists from jumping on the “shocking rise” in rape rates.

If the Obama Administration were confident in their program, they wouldn’t be tinkering with the definition of uninsured. If they were even curious about how well their program was working, they’d delay this. What does it tell you that they’re happy to let the waters get muddied like this?

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  1. Section8

    If the Obama Administration were confident in their program, they wouldn’t be tinkering with the definition of uninsured. If they were even curious about how well their program was working, they’d delay this. What does it tell you that they’re happy to let the waters get muddied like this?

    Why not do it? Most people will never know this is going on, and those who do, 90% will forget eventually, and the rest who don’t forget will be deemed paranoid by the partisan hacks who defend this administration. As for whether this administration and its supporters give a shit if it’s working or not, of course they don’t. Appearances are everything and substance is nothing to those on the left. Hell, look at inner cities. “Caring” leftists policies have left the family unit in ruin, replaced dad with a cheap government check, and they’ve convinced people that getting a job = sellout. They have ushered in a level of self defeating despair the Klan itself couldn’t dream of, and yet it’s all there. Exploit emotions, but put on a pretty face, and you can bullshit anything. This latest shit sandwich won’t improve anything, and will likely make things worse that it already has, but no matter that’s progress in the “progressive” universe. If you can present it as prime rib, and have an all too willing media willing to serve it up, then there’s nothing for them to worry about.

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  2. CM

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  3. Aussiesmurf

    “Do you think any liberal pundits will take note of this?”

    http://digbysblog.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/why-is-census-bureau-changing-way-it.html

    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/04/fox-news-about-get-new-pet-rock

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/04/15/1292255/-Census-Bureau-overhauling-how-it-counts-nbsp-uninsured

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/census-change-gop-freakout-obamacare

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2014_04/lunch_buffet_538049905.php

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  4. AlexInCT

    But then I guess if “appearances are everything and substance is nothing to those on the left” what would I know. Right? Because, Klu Klux Klan.

    At the risk of coming off as coldhearted, I have to point out that a system that cost far more than a society can afford, is totally abused by booth those using it and those running it, and occasionally actually does good, more by coincidence than by design, isn’t really a value add or good thing. I know, you come from the mentality that you are owed because you were born, but some of us remain practical, and want a system that isn’t just abuse on a scale that baffles the mind. Trying to infer that I am an evil fuck for not wanting to help prop up a bloated failed system pretending to be there to help, but that really exists in its failed incarnation to buy the new collectivist oligarchy votes might play well with weak willed fools, but I can give a flying fuck about your bullshit attempt to imply I am the one in the wrong, and not just wrong, but on par with fuckign racists scum, for pointing out the system doesn’t just not work, but is doomed to implode society, unless it is changed.

    See CM, you mistake my desire to tear down all existing vote buying schemes that masquerade as social support systems, with a desire for no socials support systems at all. And I believe that belief is on purpose with your kind, because it favors the idiotic “feelings based” argument you just made and allows you to avoid having the debate based on facts, reality, economics, the law, and logic. Me, I want a system that has “real support” that actually targets the people that earn it – those that pay into it and actually make the right, rather than the wrong, choices, and just end up fucked by life being unfair – instead of the bloated monsters that suck the productive dry so the marxists can keep power and buy themselves elections, we have now. People like you don’t really want that however, despite all your pretense to the contrary, because if you did, you would be agreeing with me that the current broken and abused system, being unsustainable, needs to be replaced before everything collapses, so those that actually do need help will have something to count on in the future.

    We have pointed out, repeatedly, if we just remain focused on healthcare reform, that what the left did with Obamacare was absolutely the dumbest possible thing, if the intend was to provide coverage to everyone, reign in cost, and keep/increase quality of care, only to have people like you call us racist/greedy for doing that. Now that things are playing out exactly like we predicted, but instead of arguing that we should start over and actually do something to produce a real fix, people like you resort to the bullshit you just pulled. Whenever I hear the “We need to do it for the childruns” cry, practically every single time to drown out the debate the left knows it can’t win, I know I am about to be fed a heaping plate of bullshit. I should actually thank you for giving me the opportunity to point this all out, though. It it appreciated.

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  5. Hal_10000 *

    Point taken, Aussiesmurf. But I will see what happens in a year when the Census Bureau actually reports their results and hear what MSNBC/CNN, etc. have to say.

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  6. AlexInCT

    Point taken, Aussiesmurf. But I will see what happens in a year when the Census Bureau actually reports their results and hear what MSNBC/CNN, etc. have to say.

    Seriously Hal you got to wait a year for the output? Let me save you the hand wringing and tell you exactly what they will find after they jury-rig this new questionaire they will base their numbers off. And I do this, not by pulling this out of my ass, but by looking at the results of the changes to the methodology for calculating inflation that conveniently dropped energy and food prices from said calculation (to show no or little inflation being caused by government printing & borrowing money like it was going out of style). They will miraculously find that the number of uninsured has drastically dropped, by several tens of millions, and the marxists/fascists will claim Obamacare is a super success.

    Fuck the lot of them and anyone pretending that the intent here isn’t to change the process in order to make the miserable failure that we kindly refer to as Obamacare look like what it is not.

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  7. CM

    I know, you come from the mentality that you are owed because you were born

    Discussion over already then. Well done again Alex.

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