Obama administration caught withholding unflattering data on Obamacare, Sebelius claim that “we don’t collect” that data is a lie
“They have a lot more information than they’re letting on,” one industry source said of the Obama administration. “They have real hard data about the percent that have paid … If they have not processed those yet and compiled the data, that is a choice they are making. But they have that data now.” . . .
“I can’t tell you because I don’t know that,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday when Republicans asked about the number of paying Obamacare customers during hearings on Capitol Hill. “We don’t collect it.” She reiterated her contention Thursday, telling lawmakers that she’d provide the information as soon as it’s available.
The dispute emerges as the administration is trying to convey a sense of enthusiasm and momentum ahead of a March 31 deadline to enroll in exchanges. But unless the current pace doubles, the administration won’t hit its target of 6 million people — a goal that was already scaled back from 7 million after last October’s messy rollout of HealthCare.gov.
But the hill to climb may be even steeper than the White House acknowledges. Once the premium payment rate is factored in, the actual count of people who now have health coverage under the president’s health law could be closer to 3 million than 4 million. The insurance exchanges may still work with fewer people — but the political narrative is that the controversial health law is again falling short. . . . .
Of course, we know that even this 3 million number is misleading and much too high for the simple reason that almost all these people already had health insurance.