Just when you think House Republicans might be becoming a little less obsessed
with Obamacare, they go full Benghazi on it, with a "report"
that challenges the administration's—and the health insurers—numbers on enrollments. Yes, it's all a big conspiracy to make it look like people want health insurance. The gist of the Republicans' "unskewing" is that only 67 percent of people have paid their first premium, so instead of 8 million enrollments, there'd be something like 5.5 million. Except that it's a major distortion
of the facts.
The committee staff got their information directly from insurers, but it’s only valid up through April 15. As experts quickly pointed out, that’s too early to get an accurate sense of the payup rate.
Remember, open enrollment officially ended on March 31. And, thanks to the Administration’s extensions, people were still signing up well into April. At the time the Committee requested the information, many of these people would have just received their first invoices for payment. Payment wouldn’t have been due until the end of the month—in other words, Wednesday. Some wouldn't owe first payments until the first of June, because that's when their insurance starts.
And people were signing up in droves at the end of the enrollment period, about 4 million of them in March and the beginning of April. The insurance companies themselves—you know, where the premiums are being billed and paid—contradict the 67 percent estimate in this "report." A WellPoint executive says
90 percent of enrollees have paid, and the CEO of American Health Insurance Plans, the industry's lobbying organization, says
that overall about 85 percent of people have paid up. In fact, as Jonathon Cohn points out
, the insurers specifically warned the staff of the committee that the data they were providing for the report was incomplete.
That's not the only glaring deception in the report, but perhaps the most brazen. Charles Gaba (Daily Kos's own Brainwrap), who is the number cruncher for Obamacare enrollments, counts myriad ways in which this report is "full of crap."
But it might not be about the enrollment numbers at all, TPM's Dylan Scott argues.
As soon as White House officials started calling the Energy and Commerce report into question, they leapt: How could the White House know, unless it had its own data that it hadn't released?
One might wonder as if that was the intention all along.
This might just be all about trying to prove that the administration is hiding information, just like BENGHAZI!!!! Because they really don't have anything else.