Are The White House Obamacare Sign-Up Numbers Believeable?

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Obamacare has been surrounded by lies and deceit since before it became law. Crafted by democrats eager to craft the law without the interference of republicans, many promises were made about how good it would be. Not many of them have been kept.

Now it is the law, many parts have been delayed and the lies and deceit are still flowing.

There were grand projections of the number of people who would register, but it seems the targets were pie in the sky.

Montana had 13,135 people sign up for insurance, up to December 28th. Not many when you consider that Montana has a population close to 1 million and around 195,000 were without insurance. Montana’s population seems to be older and they have lower wages. That allowed 83 percent of those signing up to receive a subsidy.

California, with its 38 million population, managed to get close to half a million, according to HHS. It is estimated that around 25% of the population was uninsured, so that is close to 10 million. Where are the other 9.5 million?

According to a Senior White House advisor, Obamacare is responsible for 4 million people gaining access to health insurance coverage through Medicaid expansion. The same advisor said 3 million enrollees in their early 20s are now covered under their parents’ policies and 2 million purchased insurance through the exchanges. From those numbers, somehow they are reporting 6 million signed up.

Experts surveying the sign-up numbers for Obamacare announced by the White House, and now HHS, (6 million to the end of December 2013) say those numbers are far from the truth. One of those experts is Glenn Kessler, author of the influential Fact Checker blog at The Washington Post.

Speaking on “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV, Kessler said the figures are based on combining 2.1 million people who have actually selected a plan on the state and federal exchanges, and 3.9 million for Medicaid.

That makes the numbers extremely misleading.

Kessler said, “The 3.9 million from Medicaid, that’s essentially everyone who signed up for Medicaid in October and November,” speaking to Malzberg on Friday. “But it turns out its two months of numbers having to do with everyone who ever signed up for Medicaid. It really doesn’t tell you anything about how well the Affordable Care Act is doing.”

Kessler added, “It’s somewhat similar to saying you put something in your shopping cart at Amazon and that’s what they’re counting, all of the things that are in the shopping cart. They don’t know how many people actually pushed the button and ordered the item.”

If you go over to the HHS website, you can see people who have had no end of trouble using the online system, and there is a massive gaping hole between the online and offline systems. When an online system doesn’t cut it, the natural next step is to pick up the phone, but the insurance companies appear to have a new procedure – If you call in about a problem you’re having, they put you on a 1-hour musical hold system. Then they pick up the phone and send you back to the 1-hour wait.

Here is one person’s story:

So here is my story with Humana. I enrolled and paid the Humana by credit card in early December, the payment successfully charged and showed up in my credit card statement. But to date I have never received the member ID card. I created a Humana online account, but I could not see the ID card, coverage details, and other information when logged into my account.

So I called Humana, after hour long wait, somebody picked up the phone and said that I reached the wrong department and would be transferred to the correct department, then another hour long free music entertainment, and someone picked up the phone and said that I again reached the wrong department and would be transferred to the right department, then another hour…

Luckily I am a healthy guy, have not seen a doctor for the past 5 years, and probably not going to see one in the next 5 years, so not having a membership ID card does not really affect me, but this of course could be a huge problem for someone who really needs to see a doctor soon! So I decided to cancel the policy with Humana and just pay the fine, but I need to call Humana to cancel the policy, and again, music-wrong department-music-wrong department… So I called the marketplace to cancel, and was told that the marketplace could NOT do anything about it, because I paid the premium and the policy started already. So now I am wonderfully stuck with this imaginary policy, and am paying for it as well.

Because I called Humana multiple times since the beginning of this month, I found that all those people that I had the fortune to talk to actually work for the same department named Customer Service Department, and the hour long wait was created intentionally to fend people off. Unless you call to make a payment, they routed your call to the hour long waiting line that was designed specifically for marketplace customers. The way to speak to a live person without any delay is to enter your SSN as 111-11-1111 or 222-22-2222, or any random number, as long as it is not your real SSN. But then of course you would get transferred to the correct department, and the free music entertainment is unavoidable.

Here is another:

I signed up for a plan in November. Nothing from the insurance company. Cancelled policy and signed up again in December.

Today, January 11, I get a letter from Anthem Blue Shield dated _December 13_ telling me I have to pay my premium by January 1 for coverage. Uh, a little late.

In the web site, it tells me I have to pay by January 31, to get coverage for January. Well, I don’t know about you all, but I don’t have the money to pay for a month of coverage I can’t take advantage of because I don’t have an insured card, or verification that I’m insured.

And now, I can’t cancel the plan to go to another carrier. And I don’t know what will happen if I pay after the 15th – will my plan start in February?

At this point in time, I’m about ready to bag it and pay the tax penalty. And I was a huge Affordable Care Act supporter.

It will be interesting to see if HHS ever releases any real numbers of actual people signing up. It seems people are signing up multiple times due to website failures. They are also backing out and deciding to pay a penalty rather than continue.

It really is a mess.

If the president is committed to fixing the lie he told on 32 separate occasions about “keeping your doctor,” telling the truth about the sign-up numbers would be a good start in restoring America’s faith in “The Affordable Care Law” and its catastrophic roll-out.

So far, the Obamacare sign-up numbers don’t seem believable.

Dwight L. Schwab Jr. is a moderate conservative who looks at all sides of a story, then speaks his mind. His BS in journalism from University of Oregon, with minors in political science and American history stands him in good stead for his writing.

Dwight has 30 years in the publishing industry, including ABC/Cap Cities and International Thomson. A native of Portland, Oregon, and now a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area.

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