Editorial Board • Investors Business Daily
The lies continue to continue …
Lying With Statistics: In April, we doubted that the surprisingly high ObamaCare enrollment numbers could be trusted. Turns out, we were right to be skeptical. The White House had been vastly inflating the figures all along.
This week, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell admitted that her agency had accidentally counted those who’d signed up for stand-alone dental benefits in its health insurance numbers, padding its latest enrollment data by nearly 400,000 — or 6%.
“This mistake was unacceptable,” Burwell said. But don’t worry: The fact that they “quickly corrected the number should give people confidence.”
Never mind that she admitted the “mistake” only after the House Oversight Committee exposed the book-cooking scheme.
Anyone who had been following IBD’s reporting on this wouldn’t be surprised at all.
In fact, IBD has been one of the few news outlets that remained resolutely skeptical about the claims coming out of the White House — and parroted by a sycophantic mainstream press — that ObamaCare’s first-year enrollment had been wildly successful.
We noted in April that the last-minute sign-up surge touted by the White House was hard to fathom, because it was so out of line with other available enrollment data.
After that, we consistently pointed out that the administration was goosing its numbers by counting anyone who’d completed an application, not those who paid their premiums, and that they were simply adding new “enrollees” onto old ones, without subtracting duplicates or cancellations.
In July, we were the only publication to pick up a finding buried in an Inspector General report that the administration’s enrollment numbers were unreliable because “it cannot effectively monitor the current enrollment status of applicants, such as … termination of plans.”
At the time, we calculated paid enrollment was more like 7.2 million or less, not 8 million as everyone continued to insist.
In August, another Page 1 IBD story noted how insurers were reporting sharp drops in ObamaCare enrollment, as people either failed to pay their premiums or canceled coverage on their own for other reasons.
And an October dispatch argued that even the 7.3 million number the White House released at the time was too high.
The response to these stories generally ranged from indifference to ridicule.
Charles Gaba, an ObamaCare booster who runs a site called ACASignups.net, which has been widely cited as a credible independent source of enrollment numbers, at one point blasted IBD for “mangling” his data. He said paid ObamaCare enrollment was upward of 8 million by the summer.
Gaba’s own spreadsheets now show that paid enrollment — net of attrition — was 6.9 million in July.
That is 300,000 less than IBD had calculated.
And they suggest that ObamaCare paid enrollment never got anywhere near 8 million.
Reporters covering the latest ObamaCare deception say they can’t understand why the White House would do such a thing. Gaba says he’s “upset” and feels as though the White House has been “jerking me around.”
Backers point out that 7 million paid enrollees is just what the Congressional Budget Office originally forecast. The only complaint they have is that the White House seems to have needlessly shot itself in the foot.
The problem is that this is just the latest in a long string of lies and deceptions, some of which were highlighted in Jonathan Gruber’s infamous videos, and all of which were meant to mask ObamaCare problems, or exaggerate its successes.
The only shocking thing about the latest revelation is that so many who should have known better were blindsided by it.