Wednesday, November 26, 2014

HHS Downplays Healthcare.Gov Estimates

Downplay – To treat or speak of something as to reduce its importance, value, strength.

Under its new secretary, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, HHS is being modest about expectations for this second signup for It has a lot to be modest about. In the first sign-up period, it said it had signed up 7 million people, but critics have challenged that number, saying it was padded by dental plans, and 400,000 who were later found to be ineligible. Now the actual number is said to be 6.7 million.

This time around, in the 12 week November 15 to February 15 signup period, HHS is being cautious. It says it expects to enroll a total of 9.9 million, perhaps as few as 9.1 million. These would be added to 2.9 million to the original 6.7 million. This is a considerable downplay from the 15 million, the CBO originally forecast to be signed up by the end of 2015.

In the first week of this new signup period, HHS announced 222,000 new people signed on, and 200,000 signed on the first time renewed. On December 15, HHS will automatically renew those who did not renew. Many of these will find that their plans have higher premiums. HHS expects a rush of new enrollees before the December 15 deadline and the final February 15 deadline.

Let’s back off for a moment and consider the 222,000. If you multiply 222,000 times 12 weeks, it comes to 1.850, 000 million. Add that to 6. 7 million, assuming that 6.7 million pay their premiums and keep their plans, and you get 8.55 million, a modest downplay from the projected 9.9 million, now projected by some federal guessers to be closer to 9.0 million. That would be 43.0% less than 15 million, and 13.6% less than 9.9 million.

There would, however, be a 9 million dent in the 36 million uninsured when ObamaCare passed in 2010, not bad when one knows ObamaCare was to take 10 years to reach its final goal

This time around, federal officials, with the 2013 disastrous start even in mind, are being cautiously pessimistic, even humble in their predictions.

Secretary Burwell, says after this first week, is off to a “solid start."One person's solidity, I suppose, is another persons' fluidity.

Maybe solid start will end with a flourish, but I am reminded of what Winston Churchill said of Clement Attlee, his successor as Prime Minster. When told Attlee was a modest man, Churchill commented, “ He has a lot to be modest about.” Modesty is not a trait usually associated with the Obama administration, but perhaps they have learned a lesson.

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