Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Misstating the Rand Report

You probably heard about the Rand survey by now. This is one of those documents Democrats love – vague and with sneaky caveats which make the headline true, but misleading. Here’s what you need to know.

First, let me point out that the Rand Corporation used to be to the left what Halliburton became: the corporate boogeyman controller of the New World Military Capitalist Order (note the image attached to this article, which you can find at many leftist sites). So there is a lot of irony in the Democrats pointing happily to a Rand report, but irony is typically lost on Democrats.

Anyways, according to Team Obama, the Rand report tells us that Obamcare (1) gave 18.0 million people insurance (2) 9.3 million of those were uninsured before, and that (3) only one million lost their insurance because of Obamacare. And that’s before they even factored in the surge in enrollments at the end of March!! Take that, suckas!

Ok, let’s unpack this fudge, shall we.

First, swimming through the numbers, Rand reports that only 3.9 million people signed up for Obamacare. This number will likely go up because of the last minute surge, but it would be stunning for it to rise anywhere near Team Obama’s claim (now) of 7.5 million (unless they just accept Obama's fake data). Put simply, that’s a failure. And it's nowhere near the 18 million liberals are claiming was found in the Rand report.

Moreover, Rand estimates that only 1.4 million of those people were uninsured. The rest were simply dumped into the exchange by their employers.

The rest of the 18.0 million number comes from two sources. First, 5.9 million were added to Medicaid. Note that this is half the 9 million team Obama was claiming for the past several months. So someone has some explaining to do... if only we had a real media watchdog. Secondly, recall that this number is not “new” enrollees, this number is “new plus re-enrollees.” In other words, it’s likely that the vast majority of these people were on Medicaid already and just had their policies renewed. Basically, they are crediting Obamacare with providing insurance to people who already had it. Other studies have found that less than one million of these people were new to Medicaid.

The rest of the 18.0 million are 8.2 million people who got insurance at work. To credit Obamacare with this is laughable. This is simply a function of more people finding work... that’s it. And if we are going to credit Obamacare with this, then we need to “credit” Obamacare with the people who lost insurance since it first came up in 2009. In that regard, the number of uninsured rose from 14.4% under Bush to a high of 18% under Obama (Rand actually credits Obama with a reduction from 20.5% to 15.8%, so lets run with that). This means that Obamacare stripped 6.1% of Americans of their insurance: 18.9 million people. Hey whoa!! Where have I seen someone claim an 18 million number recently? Hmmm. It's funny how all of Obama's numbers magically add up.

Anyways, Obama cost 18.9 million people their insurance. 8.2 million found coverage through jobs. 3.9 found their way to the exchanges. And about 1 million were added to Medicaid. Thus, Obamacare cost 18.9 million people their insurance, but "got" 13.2 million their coverage. That leaves 5.7 million people forgotten.

That's not a victory. Also, think about this. Obamacare’s success can now be defined thusly: after spending trillions and disrupting millions, Obamacare has managed to bring the insurance rate almost back up to what it was under Bush.

Aim high, jackass.

Of course, that’s the same level of "success" Obama has achieved with unemployment, income growth, inflation or pretty much any other measure of economic health. So at least he's consistent.

Finally, as an aside, another study has found that the people in the Exchanges are a good deal sicker than the rest of the insured public. In particular AIDS patients and those needing specialty drugs have gone to the Exchanges. According to an Express Scripts study of 650,000 claims filed in January and February with 25 insurers, Exchange participants are four times more likely to be treating AIDS, AIDS drugs are in the top ten spending list under the Exchange but not outside the exchange, hepatitis C treatments are similar. Pain medications were 35% higher in the Exchange than in other plans, drugs to control seizures were 27% higher, antidepressants were 14% higher. All of this means “expensive!” All in all, the Exchanges are spending 47% more than private insurers on "specialty drugs," i.e. drugs used by less than 1% of the public.

What this tells us is that the Exchanges really are packed with people with long term, very expensive conditions, i.e. the uninsurables. That, combined with the low turnout, is a disaster in waiting for Obamacare.


BevfromNYC said...

Well, if nothing else, Obama is consistent. He could just retweek his much ballyhooed old jobs report to "saved and created" insurance coverage. That murky undefinable "saved" part is brilliant marketing for jobs...have we pivoted to jobs yet.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I thought about that. He should start talking about 180 million insurance policies saved or created and then take credit for every policy he didn't kill.

BevfromNYC said...

He better hurry though because sometime this summer the insurance companies start sending out cancellation notices to employers/employees. He has to start spinning now, since Sebelius is "retiring" and Obama just nominated his main WH ACA spinmeister

Here, I will get them started: "You didn't lose your employer-supplied insurance, you are just transitioning from that bad policy that your evil 1%'er company offered that included your doctor and affordable pharmaceuticals to a new better policy that covers the really important stuff like...[well, we'll think of something]. Hey, no more 'doctor-lock'! Trust us...it's better."

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, They're going to have to do something, that's for sure.

Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew - what a hoot! Since you are not feeling well, here is one of my famous "non-links" toanother article that should give you a good belly laugh. It features good solid "objective" study and caused the "reviewer" to wet his pants:


tryanmax said...

TJ, I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry. That article (LINK) is such a mess!

First of all, I wish people would dispense with the dual notion that the US is supposed to be a democracy or that democracy is even desirable. I realize that most people discussing "democracy" don't mean it in it's pure form, but anyone doing a "scientific" study on the matter ought to, even as they are likely aware that most people don't take it that way. That makes the study suspect as a tool intended for anti-1% pols.

Interesting that the official release of the study will be in the fall. I wish I had a red phone to RNC HQ. I'd call 'em up and tell them to get ready to counter-message this. As it is, I expect the GOP to be blindsided by this while a few ego-driven nuts eagerly munch their own toes over it.

BevfromNYC said...

Hey, Andrew, feel better. I didn't know you were feeling poorly.

TennJ - Here's your link LINK

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Bev. It's this flu thing. This is the third time I've caught it this winter. It seems to be holding a grudge.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I don't know what to make of the article. We're not a Democracy and never have claimed to be. We're not an oligarchy either because we don't have a genuine ruling class. I'd say that if anything, we are Momentumist. Basically, no one is in charge and our government continues along the way it has always functioned until there's an overwhelming, sustained push to change it... at which point, that becomes the new momentum. And everyone basically tries to adjust to the system, with some doing better than others.

tryanmax said...

I've been looking at other sites talking about that same democracy/oligarchy thing. I'm developing the impression that those are the only two systems up for consideration and it doesn't even seem like they rated on a continuum. I guess we'll have to wait for fall to find out.

AndrewPrice said...

The whole things sound like a pre-written conclusion meant for advocacy purposes: "Let's see, we're either a corrupt evil place or we're a Unicornatopia. Hmm. I can't find any unicorns in the government. Ergo, the conclusion is obvious." Total garbage.

Tennessee Jed said...

that was my take, for sure

BevfromNYC said...

The government unicorns are in Area 52...so I hear.

tryanmax said...

On the heels of Jed's article, this came up in my Digg feed today: US elections are rigged. But Canada knows how to fix them.

AndrewPrice said...

There seems to be a full court press on this "democracy has failed" issue right now. After seeing Jed's article yesterday, I can across another one that talked about "why elections are bad." It was total nonsense. I'm going to write about it next week.

Kit said...

I thought we stomped that "Democracy is a disaster" idea out in the 1940s when and again in the 1980s when Democracy disproved it.

Seems every couple of decades it has to be disproven again.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, They never stop. Every ten years they point to some non-free market country and claim that the US's glory days are in the past and the fascists, Nazis, Commies, Germans, Japanese, Chinese are going to replace us. Up next is India.

And whenever the political system stops one set of ideologues, both sides whine that democracy prevents anything from happening and what we really need is a benign dictator to just "set things right."

This is an old and foolish game.

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