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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb 11, 2014 / 11 Adar I, 5774

Durbin's claim that 10 million now have health insurance because of Obamacare

By Glenn Kessler




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Bob, let's look at the bottom line. The bottom line is this: 10 million Americans have health insurance today who would not have had it without the Affordable Care Act. Ten million."

– Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), interview on CBS's "Face the Nation," Feb. 9, 2014

Sometimes, talking points persist even in the face of new evidence negating the previous claims.

The Fact Checker has written often about the problems with claims based on the number of new insurance enrollees under the Affordable Care Act. Yet here is the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate trotting out the same tired talking point. So let's review what's wrong with this figure, especially if someone is using it to claim that these people are all newly insured.

The Facts

Durbin appears to be combining two figures released by the administration: more 3 million signing up for insurance through the federal HealthCare.gov and state exchanges and 6.3 million deemed eligible for Medicaid. Both figures are generally October through December, and so obviously have increased since then.

But there are two big problems with both numbers:

a) The troubled federal exchange counts people as enrolled if an individual has selected a plan, but it does not know if a person enrolled and paid a premium because that part of the system has yet to be built.

b) The Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid eligibility, but no one really knows how many of the 6.3 million are in this expansion pool - or whether they are simply renewing or would have qualified for Medicaid before the new law. Indeed, the number also includes people joining Medicaid in states that chose not accept the expansion.

Obviously, then, these figures must be treated with caution. But Durbin went a step further and claimed that all of these people would not have had health insurance if not for the Affordable Care Act.

That's simply ridiculous. For instance, members of Congress, such as Durbin, previously had health insurance and are now obligated to get it via the exchanges. But the problem goes deeper than that.

The Wall Street Journal in January detailed some of the surveys that have taken of people who obtained insurance through the exchanges, and the results so far indicate that the vast majority of enrollees were previously insured.

  • Only 11 percent of consumers who bought new coverage under the law were previously uninsured, according to a McKinsey & Co. survey
  • HealthMarkets Inc., an insurance agency that enrolled around 7,500 people in exchange plans, said 65 percent of its enrollees had prior coverage.
  • At Michigan-based Priority Health, only 25 percent of more than 1,000 enrollees surveyed in plans that comply with the law were previously uninsured.

Of course, these percentages may change with time. Avalere, a health consulting firm, estimates that, once the law is fully implemented in 2017, about 68 percent of the people who obtained insurance through the exchanges will be newly insured. But even so, that would suggest at least a third already had insurance. (Update: New York state says that two-thirds of the people who enrolled on its exchange were previously uninsured, in line with the Avalere estimate.)



Meanwhile, just last Avalere threw cold water on the 6.3 million Medicaid figure, estimating that only 1.1 to 1.8 million of the enrollees could be attributed to the Affordable Care Act. That estimate generated headlines, including a full report in The Washington Post that said it suggested "many of the people who have joined the program since the initiative's rollout in October would have done so absent the law."

In other words, the Medicaid enrollment numbers are so suspect that, at this point, they should not be used in any formulation regarding the Affordable Care Act. That may change as more information is received, but politicians (and reporters) should be cautious now. (At least one analyst has called into question Avalere’s analysis, which further demonstrates the caution that is necessary.)

Durbin’s office declined to comment. Update: After this column appeared, Durbin spokesman Max Gleischman provided this statement: ”Fact check after fact check has confirmed that more than 9 million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage through Affordable Care Act. Many of the more than 9 million Americans are being covered for the first time. No matter the number of new enrollees, there is no question that the law is working and millions of people are realizing the benefits of affordable health coverage and the protections it guarantees.”

[The Fact Checker is unaware of any fact checks that have confirmed these figures as all ACA enrollments or evidence that "many" of the enrollees are being covered for the first time.]

The Pinocchio Test

Even if one took the high end of these estimates, the most one could claim is that about 4 million people have gained insurance because the Affordable Care Act, but that's being extraordinarily generous.

In the meantime, given the fuzzy nature of the numbers and the wide publicity devoted to the recent surveys, Durbin has little excuse for going on national television and claiming that every one of these people had been previously uninsured. This has now become a Four Pinocchio violation.

Four Pinocchios

 

pinocchio

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


Comment on Glenn Kessler's column by clicking here. >

An award-winning journalism career spanning nearly three decades, Glenn Kessler has covered foreign policy, economic policy, the White House, Congress, politics, airline safety and Wall Street. He was The Washington Post's chief State Department reporter for nine years, traveling around the world with three different Secretaries of State. Before that, he covered tax and budget policy for The Washington Post and also served as the newspaper's national business editor. Kessler has long specialized in digging beyond the conventional wisdom, such as when he earned a "laurel" from the Columbia Journalism Review



Previously:

01/29/14: Fact Checking the 2014 State of the Union address

01/06/14: The White House's claim that 7 million enrolled in Obamacare 'was never our target number'

01/06/14: Schumer's claims about Democratic and GOP efforts to 'fix' Obamacare

12/12/13: Harry Reid's explanation for why not all of his staff is going on 'Obamacare'

09/05/13: History lesson: When the United States looked the other way on chemical weapons

07/09/13: George W. Bush returns as a uniter

06/11/13: Obama's claim of 500,000 manufacturing jobs, month after month

05/15/13: Prez's claim he called Benghazi an 'act of terrorism'

02/21/13: Obama and early childhood education: a rhetorical leap of faith

02/14/13: Fact checking the 2013 State of the Union speech

10/23/11: Fact Checking the Final Debate

07/10/11: Obama's misleading tweet on Romney's taxes

02/21/11: The claim that 98 percent of Catholic women use contraception: a media foul

12/29/11: Ron Paul and Ronald Reagan (Fact Checker biography)

12/08/11: Romney versus Gingrich: a Super PAC's over-the-top ad

12/08/11: Obama's Kansas speech: some suspect facts

11/18/11: The Obama campaign's spin on the Romney tax plan

09/27/11: Obama' strained symbolism at an Ohio River bridge

08/25/11: Obama's claim that GOP is holding up trade deals

08/11/11: Obama's claim that the debt problem can ‘go away’

06/22/11: AARP's misleading ad about balancing the budget

05/24/11: A rare Geppetto for Paul Ryan's assertion on Obama's hidden top marginal tax rate

05/16/11:Obama administration boasting about border security

05/11/11: Kathleen Sebelius's outrageous claim that cancer patients would 'die sooner' under the GOP Medicare plan

05/09/11: A gusher of oil rhetoric

05/04/11: The Obama administration's odd claims on export growth

04/28/11: How effective are sanctions in ‘changing behavior’?

04/14/11: ‘Biggest cuts in U.S. history’? Well, no.

04/08/11: Nancy Pelosi's absurd math on senior citizens losing their meals

04/06/11: Hillary Clinton's uncredible statement on Syria

03/25/11: Libya, Obama and the tragedy in Darfur

03/22/11: Gifts of bogus statistics for the health-care law's birthday

03/21/11: Mitch McConnell's not-so-happy birthday greetings for the health care law

03/10/11: A job-loss statistic produced out of thin air

03/10/17: A budget analogy that earns a Geppetto checkmark

03/10/11: Four pinocchios for the American public on the budget

03/09/11: Obama and the White House's ‘halfway’ fixation with the budget

03/08/11: Foreign policy braggadocio on Libya and AIDS

03/07/11: Democrats keep misleading on claimed budget ‘cuts’

03/01/11: Mike Huckabee is on to something here, but jumped the gun

02/25/11: Harry Reid's illusory $41 billion in budget cuts


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