Media Tires of White House's Selective Release of ObamaCare Data
Apparently the media is growing tired of the White House selectively releasing ObamaCare data that gets to the heart of nothing but makes the program look like it is much more popular than it likely is. For instance, today the White House informed the media that between Sunday and Friday, Healthcare.gov enjoyed 3.7 million visits.
We have also been told that the site's error rate was .077 percent, the response time averaged under a second, and a whopping (and improbable) 93% of consumers did come back later after they were asked to due to the site being too busy.
As The Hill points out, though, that data is all hollow happy talk that tells us nothing about what really matters. What the White House refuses to disclose, or claims it doesn't yet have the data to disclose, just happens to be the information that will tell us if ObamaCare is or is not working:
The Obama administration is selectively releasing data and metrics on ObamaCare to bolster its case that the rollout is going better in the month of December.
Tidbits of information from federal health officials — especially figures that show improvements at HealthCare.gov — have become a key tool in the effort to “reboot” the law in the eyes of the public.
But the limited nature of the releases has created conflict with the media and put the spotlight on outstanding areas of concern for the rollout, such as the enrollment site's back end.
The White House has blithely changed the definition of the world "enrollee" to someone who has not yet enrolled, but has only selected an insurance plan and placed it into a shopping cart. Studies show that the abandonment rate for shopping carts is 67%.
Up until now, though, the media have breathlessly reported "enrollment" numbers spoon-fed to them by the White House without doing any of their own independent reporting to find out how many have actually enrolled. Maybe those days are coming to an end.
The Hill points out the other vital metrics the White House has thus far not released:
Since late October, federal health officials have touted traffic to the site, error rates and page load times almost daily in an effort to illustrate positive changes.
Enrollment figures are only discussed monthly, and leaked sign-up numbers are not confirmed. Vital information for judging the growing risk pools, such as applicants' ages, goes undiscussed.
The administration appears to have largely chosen data over anecdotes as the most powerful way to communicate site improvements to the media.
The metrics released are difficult to independently verify, but provide easy headlines and talking points for anxious supporters of the Affordable Care Act, including congressional Democrats.
Another area where the White House has dissembled rather than been forthcoming involves the number of meetings between Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and President Obama during the three years after the passage of ObamaCare. A Government Accountability Institute study finds only a single meeting between the two recorded on any White House calendar or log. Friday, Jay Carney would only say that the two met frequently, but provided no details.
While we are sure to be hit with all kinds of selective data leaks before the end of the year that are only meant to make ObamaCare look successful, The Hill reports that a number that will not be released until the end of the year is a breakdown of those who are truly enrolled -- in other words, those who have actually paid for a premium.
The fact that the White House always has positive data that sounds good but means nothing, but never the data that matters, has raised the suspicions of the American people from the beginning. It is good to know now, that after two-plus months of this Administration Hustle, the media has apparently had enough.
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