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The Big Lie: Sen. Durbin Offers Inflated Obamacare Enrollment Numbers

The White House pulled out all the stops last week to insure reporting on CBO estimates of how Obamacare would create a disincentive to work were strictly accurate. They seem to have another standard entirely when it comes to putting out Obamacare enrollment numbers.

Senator Dick Durbin made an absurd claim in defense of Obamacare Sunday on Face the Nation. Durbin told host Bob Schieffer, "Bob, let's look at the bottom line. The bottom line is this. Ten million Americans have health insurance today who would not have had it without the Affordable Care Act -- 10 million."

As we pointed out here Friday, it's looking like 20 percent of Obamacare's "enrollment" numbers need to be discounted. That's the percentage that are going to see their plans cancelled for lack of payment. Health insurance industry expert Bob Laszewski says the real number enrolled in Qualified Health Plans (i.e. not Medicaid) is around 2.5 million.

In addition, the majority of those enrollees are replacing policies that were cancelled under Obamacare's grandfathering rules. If you put the percentage of those who were previously uninsured at 25 percent, then we're talking about 625,000 people who have private insurance for the first time thanks to Obamacare.

The other half of Durbin's bogus figure comes from Medicaid enrollment. Those figures have been reported as exceeding 6 million, but they include many who had previously been judged eligible for the program. Analysts at Avalere suggested the real number is under 2 million.

Writing at the Washington Post, Glenn Kessler highlights an alternative analysis which puts the total at 3.7 million. That number may be inflated because it's using the enrollment percentages in one state (Washington) to work out a total for all Medicaid expansions states. That said, the author does make a good case that the number is probably over 3 million at this point.

Bottom line, the actual enrollment for Obamacare is probably in the neighborhood of 4.3 million. That's less than half the number Sen. Durbin claimed on national television yesterday. Kudos to Glenn Kessler for calling him out on this nonsense. He gave Durbin's statement four Pinocchios.

Given that these issues with the enrollment numbers are well known, it appears the White House is sending out surrogates like Sen. Durbin armed with bogus talking points designed to intentionally mislead Americans about how successful Obamacare really is. Even as the White House and its allies demand strict accuracy on the CBO report, they appear to be content to spread these misleading enrollment numbers far and wide.


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