- - Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Obamacare’s six-month enrollment period ended Monday, with the administration claiming Tuesday that more than 7 million people signed up. There are lots of reasons why its claims of success should be taken with a large grain of salt.

Remember, this is the administration that promised that if Americans like their health insurance plan, they could keep it. No one can take it away from them. That turned out to be one of President Obama’s biggest whoppers when 5 million Americans had their policies canceled because the plans didn’t meet Obamacare’s rigid mandates.

Additional claims being made about the health care law remind me of a long-ago TV ad in which a shady salesman who, when his customers questioned his promises, would reply, “Well, not exactly.”

There are lots of “not exactly” caveats among this administration’s dubious claims about where Obamacare stands right now after its first six-month sign-up period.


Let’s start with the White House’s questionable spiel that it has reached its goal of 6 million Americans who signed up for plans in the health insurance exchanges since Oct. 1.

The Washington Post’s Jason Millman seriously doubted this claim Tuesday in a revealing question-and-answer article called, “Six million exchange sign-ups — so, the administration hit its goal?”

His answer: “Not exactly. For starters the administration says it never set a specific goal, though it did previously adopt the Congressional Budget Office’s earlier estimate that 7 million would enroll in exchanges by the deadline. CBO later revised the estimate down to 6 million after technical problems hindered the first two months of enrollment.” No one really knows, though.

That’s why there was growing skepticism about the 6 million sign-up claim on Capitol Hill. “They are cooking the books on this,” Sen. John Barrasso, Wyoming Republican, said Sunday.

The truth is, despite the administration’s claims, there’s no official data about who has signed up thus far.

We don’t know how many of these are people had insurance before and are switching to subsidized policies under Obamacare. Neither do we know how many signed up and paid for their policies.

Mr. Obama is suggesting that with the latest sign-ups, the number of uninsured is dropping accordingly. “I’d say that we’re on our way to making sure that no American ever has to go without health insurance.”

Well, not exactly. There’s a general estimate of how many have enrolled in Medicaid for lower-income people, and of young adults, who are now on their parents’ health insurance plans.

However, “we don’t know how many of those signing up were previously uninsured,” Mr. Millman writes.

Actually, it is a wild exaggeration for Mr. Obama to even say that we are on our way to a time when every American will have health care insurance. Close to 30 million Americans still won’t have insurance coverage under Obamacare, according to a new analysis in the medical journal Health Affairs. “Even if the law were fully implemented, there would have been 26 million uninsured people,” the study’s co-author Steffie Woolhandler told The Washington Post in an interview Thursday. “This is the system as originally designed.”

The CBO, the auditing arm of Congress, estimated more than a year ago that more than 26 million Americans — between the ages of 18 and 44 — would not have health insurance under the expansion of medical care coverage.

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