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Census Changed To Lower Number Of Uninsured

From the New York Times (of all places):

Census survey revisions mask health law effects

By Robert Pear | April 16, 2014

WASHINGTON — The Census Bureau, the authoritative source of health insurance data for more than three decades, is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall, Census officials said.

Gee, what a coincidence. Though for some reason we are reminded how the Obama administration also changed the way the GDP is measured, in order to make the number higher before the November 2012 elections. (They now count ‘intellectual property’ as part of the GDP. No other country does that.)

The changes are intended to improve the accuracy of the survey, being conducted this month in interviews with tens of thousands of households around the country. But the new questions are so different that the findings will not be comparable, the officials said.

So nobody will be able to compare the number of the uninsured before and after the onset of Obama-Care. But, again, it’s just a coincidence. And they certainly can’t do anything about it now.

But just wait until Obama finds out that this has happened. He is going to be hopping mad.

An internal Census Bureau document said that the new questionnaire included a “total revision to health insurance questions” and, in a test last year, produced lower estimates of the uninsured. Thus, officials said, it will be difficult to say how much of any change is attributable to the Affordable Care Act and how much to the use of a new survey instrument.

“We are expecting much lower numbers just because of the questions and how they are asked,” said Brett J. O’Hara, chief of the health statistics branch at the Census Bureau.

So now they will have an excuse when it turns out that there are still millions of Americans, probably 45 million, who are still uninsured. Despite the untold hundreds of billions of dollars spent on Obama-Care.

A major goal of the law is to increase the number of people with health insurance. The White House reported that 7.5 million people signed up for private health plans on the new insurance exchanges and that enrollment in Medicaid increased by 3 million since October. But the administration has been unable to say how many of the people gaining coverage were previously uninsured or had policies canceled, so the net increase in coverage is unclear.

The RAND Corporation’s study says that the number of previously uninsured who got Obama-Care is 1.4 million. And they were being generous and assuming everyone would actually pay for their plans. So the major goal of Obama-Care was a major failure.

The questionnaire traditionally used by the Census Bureau provides an “inflated estimate of the uninsured” and is prone to “measurement errors,” said a working paper by statisticians and demographers at the agency…

Now they tell us! But now they are going to dial that number back, to give Obama a victory.

In the test last year, the percentage of people without health insurance was 10.6 percent when interviewers used the new questionnaire, compared with 12.5 percent using the old version. Researchers said that they had found a similar pattern in the data for different age, race, and ethnic groups.

So we actually might have had 2% fewer uninsured. (And, in reality, the difference is probably even far greater.)

In addition, “the percentage of people with private coverage was statistically higher” when the bureau tested the new questionnaire, the working paper said. For reasons that are not clear, people were less likely to respond when interviewers used the new questionnaire.

Another Census Bureau paper said “it is coincidental and unfortunate timing” that the survey was overhauled just before major provisions of the health care law took effect…

Yes, what terrible timing. Heads will surely roll.

Meanwhile, we have a supposed news media outlet, the Atlantic, mocking anyone who might dare to even question the White House numbers, or the motivation for changing the Census questions.

From the Atlantic Magazine:

The Census Bureau Picked a Bad Time to Change How It Counts the Uninsured

By Arit John | April 15, 2014

This is the kind of announcement every Obamacare enrollment truther has been waiting for — the Census Bureau is changing the questions it asks about health insurance, to the point that the data won’t be comparable to past years, according to the New York Times…

Dictators love having an unquestioning ‘press’ like the Atlantic, which mocks anyone who would ever dare to doubt the regime. But this is what passes for ‘journalism’ in the Age Of Obama.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, April 16th, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Census Changed To Lower Number Of Uninsured”

  1. captstubby says:

    “also changed the way the GDP is measured,”

    repost, updated.

    What You Need to Know About Social Security’s 2014 COLA
    Elisa Walker, National Academy of Social Insurance
    The Social Security Administration announced today that beneficiaries will see a 1.5% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) beginning in their January 2014 checks. Benefits are automatically adjusted to keep up with the cost of living.
    Key points:
    The COLA for 2014 will be 1.5% — slightly below last year’s COLA of 1.7%, and below the average of 2.7% since 1990.
    CPI stands for consumer price index, a formula that looks at how the prices of stuff we need (food, for example) change over time. It’s used to make cost-of-living adjustments in programs such as Social Security, veterans benefits and food stamps.
    The chained CPI is a twist on that: It measures living costs differently because it assumes that when prices for one thing go up, people sometimes settle for cheaper substitutes (if beef prices go up, for example, they’ll buy more chicken and less beef).
    Bottom line: Cost-of-living adjustments would be lower with the chained CPI than with the plain old CPI. So depending on which formula is used, the amount of your Social Security payments could change over time.

    “Oh, and wanna bet that Republicans soon start running ads saying that Obama wants to cut your Social Security?”
    April 5, 2013,
    Paul Krugman

    on April 10 2013
    The Obama administration included in its 2014 budget proposal, which was submitted to Congress Wednesday, “chained CPI,” a recalculation of the Consumer Price Index that will change how the government calculates the annual cost-of-living adjustments for millions of Social Security and other benefit recipients as well as the annual inflation adjustments to the federal tax code.

    “Last week, President Obama marked the Jubilee Year of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty. The facts that a record 27.3 percent of Americans were receiving non-cash means-tested benefits, and that workforce participation had sunk to levels last seen during the Carter presidency seemed to be of little concern to Obama. Instead, he attempted to elide over the situation by declaring yet another “unconditional war on poverty in America,” and in an intellectual sleight of hand, pointed to Social Security and Medicare as evidence of Johnson’s success. Per the president, “Without Social Security, nearly half of seniors would be living in poverty. Today, fewer than one in seven do.”
    Obama forgot that he is the one calling for cuts to Social Security, over protests from Senate Democrats. As The Hill reports. “Obama proposed nearly $1 trillion in spending cuts in his budget, including a switch to using the Chained Consumer Price Index (CPI), which liberal policy experts estimate could cost seniors thousands of dollars in benefits over their lifetimes. “
    Finally, Social Security and Medicare are the antithesis of food stamps and Medicaid. Unlike Medicaid and food stamps whose only criterion for eligibility is indigence, Social Security and Medicare are earned through a lifetime of work. Somehow, the notion that benefits must be earned may have been too much for the one-time community organizer.
    The Daily Beast

    • Petronius says:

      Interesting post, Capt.

      Food prices shot up 2.6% in February. That’s huge, and amounts to a 31% annual increase. Gasoline prices are also rising.

      The regime manipulates virtually all economic data, including not only health insurance numbers, GDP, and the CPI, but also inflation, unemployment, debt, deficit, taxes, manufacturing, prices, exports and trade deficit, money supply, government hiring, etc.

      The media (including business media) participates in this government deception by covering it up and by failing to perform independent economic research. Generally the business news and investors accept government numbers at face value and without questioning. As a result, distortions are driven into the markets (stocks, bonds, commodities), and risk is compounded over time as the deceptions continue to mask the true fundamentals.

      One notable exception is John Williams’ Shadow Government Statistics, which exposes flaws in government numbers and adjusts them to give a more accurate economic picture.


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