President Obama’s remark that “We’ve got close to seven million Americans who have access to health care for the first time because of Medicaid expansion” achieved the dubious assessment of Four Pinocchios from “The Fact Checker” (a.k.a. “The Truth Behind the Rhetoric” by Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post).
Four Pinocchios designates the highest form of prevarication one can commit on The Fact Checker scale. Simply put, Obama told a “Whopper.” The seven million figure, according to Kessler, most likely comes from the 6.3 million people that were deemed eligible for Medicaid from October 1 to December 31, 2013. The tally includes the “normal churn” representing all of those that were eligible under the existing laws prior to Obamacare.
It appears that Obama overstated the number of people entitled to healthcare access as a result of his Medicaid expansion by up to 5.9 million.
Avalere, a health consulting firm, did an analysis that raised serious questions about the 6.3 million Medicaid figure, estimating that only 1.1 million to 1.8 million of the claimed enrollees could have their enrollments attributed to the Affordable Care Act. A full report in The Washington Post asserted that “many of the people who have joined the program since the initiative’s rollout in October would have done so absent the law.”
Charles Gaba, who tracks enrollment figures at ACASignups.net, has disputed some of Avalere’s reasoning and attributes up to 2.6 million new enrollments as a result of the ACA laws. Nevertheless, these still remain far less than the seven million Obama contends.
The Fact Checker states, “In any case, no matter how you slice it, it does not add up to seven million. It is dismaying that given all of the attention to this issue, the president apparently does not realize that the administration’s data are woefully inadequate for boastful assertions of this type.”