Politico Gives Obamacare Enrollment 'A-' Grade
Politico has awarded Obamacare a grade of "A-" for its first enrollment season, lauding the law for almost reaching its signup goal. However, despite Politico's happy face on the Affordable Care Act, the public's support for the law is at an all-time low.
On March 28 Politico author David Nather made to grade several areas of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA (also known as Obamacare), and found that, despite its monumental failures, it was mostly praiseworthy.
This praise from Politico is in sharp contrast to public support of the ACA which is now at an all-time low. A new poll by the AP and GfK polling shows that public support for Obamacare has plummeted to 26 percent favorable.
Obamacare was even ridiculed by several floats during New Orleans Mardi Gras parades.
Among other categories, Nather gave Obamacare an "A-" for its success at public enrollment. By his own admission, Obama originally said he needed seven million enrollees – and didn't get them, claiming six million on Thursday of this week. He also said he needed 38 percent of enrollees to be young people so that the system wouldn't financially collapse – and didn't get them. Politico does not worry about any of that.
Worse, Nather glosses over the fact that this six-million signup claim may be utterly meaningless because there is no indication that all six million actually took possession of and paid for their first insurance policy premium. So, the six million claim is more like six million saying they intend to get insurance, not six million actually getting insurance.
By one estimate, up to 30 percent of those who claimed to have "signed up" for Obamacare on the ACA website never actually paid their premiums or got any insurance at all. Nather quotes a more conservative 15-20 percent, which could still lower the number of actual enrollees below five million – and thus less than 70 percent of the original seven million enrollment goal. Still, that shortfall deserves an "A-," because the numbers "could also tick up during the rest of the year," Nather reasons.
There are other reasons to believe that this claimed number of signups is false, too.
The President sold Obamacare in 2009 by scolding America because 40 million Americans had no insurance. Yet now he's excited that he signed up a mere six million for insurance? That seems to be quite a failure, if 40 million needed to be served, and he only served six million.
It gets worse when we realize that most of this six million did have insurance before Obamacare and lost it because of Obamacare.
Politico ignored many of these facts and merely took Obama's claims at face value to give him a happy "A minus" grade for enrollment.
The news site also graded several other areas of the rollout of Obamacare. It gave the ACA's "mix of customers" a "B" even though, as noted above, Obamacare did not get the number of young people it needs to stay financially viable. Showing his desperation for the young age group to signup, in the last two weeks Obama made a major push to get those under 40 to sign up. It doesn't seem to have worked.
There were two areas where Politico gave Obamacare an "F," and deservedly so. First was over website readiness. Certainly, the debut of the Obamacare website was a crashing failure and still is in many ways. However, Politico gave "website repairs" a "B-" despite that the back end of the system is still not giving insurance companies useful information.
Second, Obamacare got an "F" for Obama's lie of the year: "You can keep your healthcare policy if you like it."
For the most part, though, Nather gave Obamacare glowing grades despite all its massive failures, many of which continue to this day.
Of course, this isn't the first time that Politico put a happy face on the massive failure that is Obamacare. In February, the outlet proclaimed the ACA a success despite its crashing failures.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.