Like LePage’s Alexander Report, national GOP manufactures phony figures

Maine’s Gov. LePage has been a staunch opponent of all components of the federal government’s Affordable Care Act.

That’s included blocking Medicaid expansion, with help from numbers put together by the poorly conducted, widely discredited Alexander Report. This report, which had an error of over half a billion dollars, was so badly received that, after awhile, the administration itself didn’t want to cite it.

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 9.57.41 PMNow the national GOP is out with its own phony numbers

Before turning to that, here are some data from the official report on signups through the end of March 2014:

  • Maine signups on the marketplace were well above the initial prediction of 23,000, with 44,258 signed up by the end of the March. That’s nearly double the original prediction.
  • Of these Mainers, women constituted 54% of those who signed up.
  • Maine is an old state, and thus it’s not surprising there were fewer signups of 18-34 year olds than other states. This group was 22% of Mainers, compared to 28% nationally.
  • 90% received financial assistance, through subsidies, to buy a private insurance plan.
  • 72% of those signing up picked silver level plans, 19% bronze, 8% gold, and 1% catastrophic plans.

So, what was the phony figure?

The House GOP released a study saying that just 67% of people paid for their insurance premiums.

The major problem with this is that the dates just don’t match up.

Because there was such a huge surge in sign-ups at the end of enrollment period, many people who signed up by the end of March didn’t owe a premium by the end date of the survey.

As Talking Points Memo reports:

The survey included language that explicitly left out the fact some people would still have time to pay their premium after April 15, which is when the House Energy and Commerce Committee asked companies to return their answers.

The GOP survey simply asked companies for the number of enrollees who paid their first premium and the number who have not — but it did not account for the fact that some people in the latter group could still pay until at least April 30.

Nearly 40 percent of Obamacare enrollees signed up after March 15 — which means their first premium wasn’t due until after the committee finished collecting its data. The GOP’s 67 percent figure was therefore founded on bad math: It accounted for all enrollees, but it demanded figures be compiled more than two weeks before the actual deadline for many people to make their payments. [source]

Bad math? Phony numbers?

Yep. Insurers are reporting higher percentages have paid.

On Tuesday, at a breakfast sponsored by Politico Pro, the head of the insurance industry’s main trade groupKaren Ignani, of America’s Health Insurance Planssaid that about 85 percent of people who bought coverage through the marketplaces were paying premiums.

On the very same day, officials from Wellpoint told investors on a conference call that the payup figure was 90 percent, according to reports from theWashington Post’s Jason Millman and the National Journal‘s Clara Ritger. [source]

We’ve seen phony figures in the Pine Street State. It’s unfortunate to see them at the national level, too.

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By the way, some people can continue to sign up after the end of this open enrollment period. These include people with special circumstances, like losing a job with insurance, people with small busineses, and people who newly qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Program for Medicaid. See this page at healthcare.gov for the details.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives.