Here’s the latest Affordable Care Act surprise: This fall, the Obama administration counted people who’d signed up only for dental plans as full ACA participants, which inflated a key enrollment number.
Cue Democratic face palms. For defenders of the ACA, aka “Obamacare,” this is a stupid mistake in regard to a purely arbitrary goal that could undermine the health-care program’s credibility with voters.
“This is such a dumb, unforced error by the administration,” tweeted Ezra Klein of Vox on Thursday.
Obamacare critics see it as something worse. They call this slip-up an effort to inflate the numbers to meet a goal that they were having a hard time meeting, as opposed to an honest inaccuracy. If the Obama administration had been honest and credible with us in the past we might accept that accident explanation. That, however, has not been the case and it is worth nothing that none of the numbers have ever been revised up, only down.
The Obama administration said it recently overstated how many people had paid-up health coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges because of the incorrect inclusion of dental coverage sign-ups, marking an embarrassing disclosure as the health-care markets open for their second year of operation. The problem is they didn’t acknowledge it until they were caught.
While Burwell said the mixup was a mistake, the Republican party has dubbed it another case of “Obamacare obfuscation.”
After saying the mistake was ‘unintentional’ the HHS Secretary said: “This mistake was unacceptable,” Burwell said. “I will be communicating that clearly throughout the department. While we understand some will be skeptical, our clarity that this is [a] mistake and the fact that we have quickly corrected the numbers should give people confidence.
After playing defense for the past week, Sylvia Burwell probably needs a much anticipated Thanksgiving break.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration acknowledged Thursday it has been over-reporting the number of people signed up under the health care law, a discrepancy that congressional Republicans seeking to repeal the program say they uncovered.
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell called the latest lapse “unacceptable.”
“The mistake we made is unacceptable,” Burwell said on Twitter. “I will be communicating that clearly throughout the (department.)”
Administration spokesman Aaron Albright said that the overcount involved about 400,000 people.
Those consumers have separate dental coverage in addition to a medical plan, and were double-counted by mistake, said Albright. They had purchased both the medical and dental plans through HealthCare.gov and state insurance markets created under the law.
That means the correct number of people enrolled for medical coverage as of Oct. 15 is about 6.7 million, not the 7.1 million that Burwell has been citing.