Obama Administration Rephrases Census Questions on Obamacare

Obamacare must be one of the most written about laws ever, most of it not positive. It is hard to tell whether it is mainly an ideological fight or mainly just bad low. Certainly both points of view are seen, but there is no argument that there are more bad parts of this law than almost any other law on the books.

Some say the entire health care package should be renamed “Larry, Moe and Curly Health Care R Us.”

The Obama administration has been touting increasing numbers of signups, but “signups” do not equal payments. Given a few thousand dollars in advertising, almost anyone could get a lot of signups on a website, but converting signups to paying customers is a lot harder. That is known as “conversions” and conversion rates are typically very low.

The administration has been playing the old ‘smoke and mirrors’ game with the figures. Because the administration isn’t giving real figures, isn’t giving proof or access, nobody knows what the numbers are. We are just supposed to take their word for it, but given their sneakiness and lack of transparency on almost everything else they do, few believe what they say. Incompetence is suspected at all levels within this White House, but many suspect far worse. Texas Republican Blake Farenthold, chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care, and Entitlements, is one who suspects something worse than incompetence.

The Census Bureau has made extensive changes to its annual survey, that make it almost impossible to track how Obamacare has affected Americans. This is too much for many lawmakers in Washington DC, who wanted to see the figures so they can gauge what effects the law has had. Already burdened by the IRS scandal, Benghazi and “Fast and Furious,” it is suspected the Obama administration has arranged for the Census to be changed to obfuscate the effects of Obamacare on Americans. Some lawmakers say it is too much of a coincidence that one of the few ways to measure the effect of Obamacare on Americans has now been changed in such a way that little can be discovered.

Republican Rep. Farenthold told Newsmax, “The census should not be political. These reports do nothing but give more weight to Americans’ level of general distrust in the Obama administration, especially after the president’s failed promise that ‘if you like your health insurance, you can keep it.'”

The New York Times reported “extensive revamping of the [Census] bureau’s survey,” occurred prior to its use in September.

Officials at the census bureau, long considered the authority on health data, are not happy with the changes. The new questions are so different that statisticians will find it very difficult to compare the results with data from previous years, one of the primary uses of census data. The ostensible reason for the changes was to improve the accuracy of the survey.

The change was approved by the Office of Management and Budget, and surprise surprise surprise, that is the same agency that Obama found his new HSS secretary, Kathleen Burwell.

Brett J. O’Hara, chief of the Census Bureau’s health statistics operation, told The New York Times, “We are expecting much lower numbers just because of the questions and how they are asked.” The questions are considered to be too complex for the man in the street. Is that so, or could it be the final tally is not to the liking of Obamacare advocates?

The changes include more detailed questions about whether people were offered insurance at work and whether they accepted it. If a worker does not have employer coverage, the survey asks why.

Some of the “new” questions were requested by the Department of Health and Human Services and Obama’s hand-picked White House Council of Economic Advisers, according to The Times.

Census data plays a key role in the allocation of $400 billion in federal and state funding each year, in public health, education, transportation and neighborhood improvements.

The Census Bureau has always operated as an independent entity within the U.S. Commerce Department, resporting to the Commerce Secretary. The Commerce Secretary reports to a director appointed by President Barack Obama, since 2009, when Obama moved the bureau under the Office of Management in Budget, which falls under the purview of the White House.

That relationship appears to breach the independence of the Census Bureau, and Rep. Farenthold is planning to investigate it. He told Newsmax, “My subcommittee will be thoroughly investigating this issue and demanding answers from Census officials on allegations that the Census Bureau is changing the wording of survey questions used to determine our nation’s annual report on health insurance coverage.”

Jonah Goldberg, a Fox News contributor said (in the video below) “some people say [the changes] will be more accurate … others say this will make it much more difficult to say how much Obamacare has progressed. Both things are in fact true. The Census Bureau, which is supposed to be apolitical … anything that appears like politicization gets people very nervous.”

Goldberg said that people are questioning the reason for the changes, that used to inflate the numbers of uninsured, but now that would be a bad thing for the administration, so they have changed the questions, right at the time when an accurate comparison is needed.

The fact that the White House is unable to say how many of the 8 million Americans who registered, but may not have actually paid for insurance, had no health insurance beforehand or were kicked out of their policies since the enrollment period began.

Anyone who believes what the White House says about this may be interested in purchasing some swamp land in Florida.

Dwight L. Schwab Jr. is a moderate conservative who looks at all sides of a story, then speaks his mind. He has written more than 3500 national political and foreign affairs columns. His BS in journalism from the 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. His first book, “Redistribution of Common Sense – Selective Commentaries on the Obama Administration 2009-2014,” was published in July, 2014. “The Game Changer – America’s Most Stunning Presidential Election in History,” was published in April 2017.


Dwight is a native of Portland, Oregon, and now a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area.