Paul Krugman wrote a very salient piece yesterday titled ‘Inventing Failure’ that everyone should heed. In the piece he referred to The House Energy and Commerce Committee released report on Obamacare enrollment. The report was based on the reply to the committee’s request to insurance companies on the federal exchanges. The request was for these companies to provide the number of Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) enrollees who have already paid their first premium payment.
The committee report concluded that only 67% of enrollees paid their premiums as of April 15th. Of course what the report neglected to state transparently is that because of the surge in signups near the end of the signup period, the premiums were not yet due.
The committee report states the following.
Data provided to the committee by every insurance provider in the health care law’s Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) shows that, as of April 15, 2014, only 67 percent of individuals and families that had selected a health plan in the federally facilitated marketplace had paid their first month’s premium and therefore completed the enrollment process. Nationwide, only 25 percent of paid enrollees are ages 18 to 34. The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations today invited the leaders of some of the nation’s largest insurance providers and their trade groups to testify at a hearing, “PPACA Enrollment and the Insurance Industry,” on Wednesday, May 7, 2014, at 10:15 a.m. in room 2123 Rayburn House Office Building.
According to Talking Points Memo,
Nearly 40 percent of Obamacare enrollees signed up after March 15 — which means their first premium wasn’t due until after the committee finished collecting its data. The GOP’s 67 percent figure was therefore founded on bad math: It accounted for all enrollees, but it demanded figures be compiled more than two weeks before the actual deadline for many people to make their payments.
Republicans held the 67 percent finding up this week against the Obama administration’s victory lap when the law surpassed 8 million figures. TPM’s source concluded that the House survey was specifically designed to undermine the law’s recent run of good news.
“They were clearly trying to get a specific result to rebut any positive news about enrollment,” the source said. “If they were really trying to get full data, they would have waited until early May for the answers.”
Paul Krugman ends his piece with two paragraphs that should first give us pause. It should however activate us all, to unabashedly call out lies and disinformation from every source. Krugman says,
So Republicans are spreading disinformation about health reform because it works, and because they can — there is no sign that they pay any political price when their accusations are proved false.
And that observation should scare you. What happens to the Congressional Budget Office if a party that has learned that lying about numbers works takes full control of Congress? What happens if it regains the White House, too? Nothing good, that’s for sure.
Obamacare lies are just a tool for a bigger policy
The height of Obamacare lies that is consuming the traditional media is astounding. They continue to give Republicans a platform to lie, misinform, and confuse Americans. Paul Krugman’s fear is much deeper than meets the eye. You see, Republicans intent, so far rather successful, is to first convince Americans that government does not work. They want you to believe there is something intrinsic within the private sector that works better. They would have you believe that profit is a better motivator for good than government of and by the people.
In doing so they want to ensure that the credibility of numbers released by government agencies like the CBO or the BLS should not be trusted. As such their release of partial truths, misinformation, or outright lies have a degree of plausibility to those predisposed to depend solely on them for information.
It is the responsibility of every thinking American to ensure we never lose faith in government. After-all, government is we the people. Loss of faith in government is equivalent to losing faith in ourselves.