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RAND Study: Only 1.4M Enrollees Were Uninsured

An op/ed by Avik Roy from Forbes:

RAND Comes Clean: Obamacare’s Exchanges Enrolled Only 1.4 Million Previously Uninsured Individuals

By Avik Roy | April 9, 2014

Last week, I wrote about an article in the Los Angeles Times, on a then-as-yet unpublished report from the RAND Corporation. The report indicated that only one-third of Obamacare’s purported 7.1 million exchange sign-ups were from the previously uninsured. But Noam Levey, the author of the Times article, didn’t disclose RAND’s actual findings as to the actual number of previously uninsured exchange enrollees. Well, now we know why. RAND published the full report yesterday; it indicates that Obamacare’s exchanges only enrolled 1.4 million previously uninsured individuals.

And isn’t it funny how the leaker leaked this to the LA Times, who could be counted on to spin things for the administration? Meanwhile, the rest of the news media has ignored this update.

That 1.4 million is out of a total of 3.9 million exchange enrollees overall. That is to say, a little over a third of enrollees—36 percent—were previously uninsured…

If you assume that 80 percent of signer-uppers will eventually pay their premiums, the true number of previously uninsured exchange enrollees is likely closer to 2 million.

And there is no reason to believe that 80% will pay, since that many haven’t paid in the state exchanges.

That’s far from what the Congressional Budget Office has projected; the CBO estimated that 80 to 90 percent of the first-year enrollees would come from the previously uninsured population. Instead, it appears to be more like 24 to 36 percent…

As Forbes has previously noted, the CBO also claimed that 3/5ths of the uninsured would be uninsured in 2014. Given the AP’s figure of 47 million uninsured, that would be 28.2 million previously uninsured should be signed up by now. (60% of 47 million = 28.2 million.)

RAND on the other had, says there were ‘only’ 40 million uninsured. Which would amount to 24 million new enrollees for Obama-Care, if the CBO had been correct. But they were off by more than 22 million.

RAND finds that, overall, 9.3 million more U.S. residents have health insurance in 2014 relative to 2013. That figure has a margin of error of 3.5 million. But that’s not the interesting part. The interesting part is that 8.2 million of that comes from growth in employer-sponsored insurance. Labor force participation has been steadily declining, especially among younger individuals, which would seemingly make this result unlikely. Other surveys from ADP and Aon Hewitt have found that employer-sponsored coverage among the young has been flat to down.

On the other hand, it’s theoretically possible that Obamacare’s individual and employer mandates have convinced millions of Americans to sign up for health insurance. But those mandates have been repeatedly delayed and laced with loopholes and exceptions.

A third possibility is that RAND’s survey is simply inaccurate. The authors note that “people may not report having Medicaid because their state uses a different name for the program or because they do not understand the true source of their insurance.” We just don’t know…

And if the Obama administration has its way, we will never know.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Monday, April 14th, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “RAND Study: Only 1.4M Enrollees Were Uninsured”

  1. captstubby

    “we will never know.”

    Steve, i think you just found the Perfect campaign slogan for either Party to use this November.

  2. Astravogel

    “Figures don’t lie, but liars can figure.”


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