White House slams Daily Caller report on Obamacare enrollment

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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White House officials have slammed The Daily Caller’s report that Obamacare has reduced the number of Americans with commercial health coverage by roughly 2.5 million.

The report is “embarrassingly deceptive,” said a Jan. 2 tweet from Jesse Lee, director of progressive media and online response at the White House.

Lee reacted after TheDC’s article was highlighted by a tweet from the office of House Speaker John Boehner, about the increasingly unpopular health law.

“It’s official: #Obamacare debuts with more canceled plans than enrollments” j.mp/1covq5B,” said the Boehner tweet.

“More than 4.7 million Americans had their health insurance canceled as a result of any of the thousand-plus-page law’s new rules, The Associated Press reports, but the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) confirmed Tuesday that between federal and state exchanges, just two million Americans have signed up for Obamacare coverage,” TheDC reported.

Lee did not provide any data to challenge TheDC’s calculation, nor address Obamacare’s failure to even reach the interim Dec. 24 target of 3.3 million sign-ups.

Instead, he highlighted poll-tested aspects of the Obamacare network.

“Discrimination against Americans with pre-existing conditions is a thing of the past — the Republican repeal plan would bring that back,” he tweeted.

“Many of the millions getting ACA coverage are getting tax credits — the Republican repeal plan would immediately jack their premium costs up,” he declared.

The 2.1 million declared sign-ups, however, may exaggerate the numbers. That’s because Obamacare officials have not announced how many have actually paid for coverage, nor how many of the sign-ups are healthy enough to offset the heavy costs of the sick people who sign up.

Lee, however, suggested that Americans should instead trust a report from Rep. Henry Waxman’s staffers at the Democratic minority on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

“The number of individuals who will lose individual coverage and be unable to renew pre-ACA coverage, enroll in subsidized coverage, or access a catastrophic plan is sure to be small. … Fewer than 10,000 people in 18 counties in a single state would lack access to an affordable catastrophic plan,” says the report, “Debunking Republican Claims about Coverage Losses under the Affordable Care Act.”

“This is less than 0.2% of the estimate made by opponents of the Affordable Care Act,” says the report by staffers working for Waxman, who is considered one of the most progressive legislators on the Hill.

Waxman’s staffers tortured the data to extract the 0.2 percentage number.

Their core argument is that Americans can still buy expensive, restricted and geographically limited Obamacare insurance in place of the preferred pre-Obamacare insurance that was forcefully canceled by Obama and his deputies.

For example, the staffers declared that Obama’s decision to announced a one-year delay of one part of the 2010 law ensures that “half of the reported 4.7 million individuals who received cancellation notices have the option to renew their prior [and illegal pre-Obamacare] coverage.”

But the Waxman report does not say how many people have signed up for the insurance coverage that has been banned by Obamacare’s regulations.

“Individuals will receive better coverage at lower cost by enrolling through the exchanges or signing up for Medicaid, and many have done so,” the Waxman report claimed, without offering any numbers.

“Individuals who received cancellation notices [for their pre-Obamacare insurance policies] are eligible to apply for a hardship exemption and purchase catastrophic health plans typically offered only to individuals under thirty,” said the Waxman report.

The report, however, did not say how many Americans have purchased the catastrophic care in place of their pre-Obamacare insurance.

Other Democrats have defended Obama’s law by saying the canceled policies — estimated to be at least 4.7 million — has been offset by an expansion of Medicaid, and by rules allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ commercial insurance as children until they’re 26.

Roughly four million Americans have been notified of their new eligibility for the Medicaid program.

The public and GOP legislators have strongly criticized the design and impact of the Obamacare system.

Over the last few months, almost half the GOP caucus has announced support for a replacement plan that would help people buy their own insurance and create a government-backed $25 billion fund to subsidize commercial coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

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Neil Munro