The @BarackObama account, now managed by Organizing for Action, leads the political pack in fake followers, according to Barracuda’s analysis. In fact, of the more than 43 million followers when the data were studied last month, just 36.6 percent were deemed “good” under its metrics, while 46.8 percent count as “fake.” An additional 16.6 percent of the @BarackObama followers are labeled “uncertain.”
For @WhiteHouse, the official Twitter handle that boasts more than 4.8 million followers, 51.8 percent notched a good score. But 31 percent qualified as fake and 16.8 percent were uncertain.
The Obama administration has quietly adjusted key provisions of its signature healthcare law to potentially make billions of additional taxpayer dollars available to the insurance industry if companies providing coverage through the Affordable Care Act lose money.
The move was buried in hundreds of pages of new regulations issued late last week. It comes as part of an intensive administration effort to hold down premium increases for next year, a top priority for the White House as the rates will be announced ahead of this fall's congressional elections.
Administration officials for months have denied charges by opponents that they plan a "bailout" for insurance companies providing coverage under the healthcare law.
They continue to argue that most insurers shouldn't need to substantially increase premiums because safeguards in the healthcare law will protect them over the next several years.
But the change in regulations essentially provides insurers with another backup: If they keep rate increases modest over the next couple of years but lose money, the administration will tap federal funds as needed to cover shortfalls.
The Census Bureau, the authoritative source of health insurance data for more than three decades, is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall, census officials said.
The changes are intended to improve the accuracy of the survey, being conducted this month in interviews with tens of thousands of households around the country. But the new questions are so different that the findings will not be comparable, the officials said.
An internal Census Bureau document said that the new questionnaire included a “total revision to health insurance questions” and, in a test last year, produced lower estimates of the uninsured. Thus, officials said, it will be difficult to say how much of any change is attributable to the Affordable Care Act and how much to the use of a new survey instrument.
“We are expecting much lower numbers just because of the questions and how they are asked,” said Brett J. O’Hara, chief of the health statistics branch at the Census Bureau.
With the new questions, “it is likely that the Census Bureau will decide that there is a break in series for the health insurance estimates,” says another agency document describing the changes. This “break in trend” will complicate efforts to trace the impact of the Affordable Care Act, it said.
People participating in the food stamp program outnumbered the women who worked full-time, year-round in the United States in 2012, according to data from the Department of Agriculture and the Census Bureau.
Gallup has a fairly honest headline: “In U.S., Uninsured Rate Lowest Since 2008″. But, hm, what happened in 2008? Let’s keep looking at the chart. The low was 14.4 percent, just before the financial crisis. Makes some sense, I’m sure a lot of people lost health insurance then. At the start of the Obama Administration, the rate was 15.6 percent; the peak was 18 percent — in roughly the third quarter of last year. Remember that, when people were objecting because they’d had their insurance canceled? Harry Reid said all those people were lying, but Gallup says different. In fact, 1 percentage point on this chart is, roughly, 3 million people. The change from Q1 to Q3 was about 2 percent — or roughly 6 million people who became uninsured.
Where have I heard that number before?
And now for the punchline: Since Obama was inaugurated in 20082009, the net change is from 15.4 percent uninsured to 15.6 percent. So the net effect has been that by the Gallup Survey the number of uninsured has improved in the last year, but gotten worse since Obama was inaugurated, and is 1.2 percent worse than under Bush.
One of the biggest players in Obamacare's exchanges says 15 to 20 percent of its new customers aren't paying their first premium—which means they're not actually covered.
The latest data come from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, whose members—known collectively as "Blues" plans—are participating in the exchanges in almost every state. Roughly 80 to 85 percent of people who selected a Blues plan through the exchanges went on to pay their first month's premium, a BCBSA spokeswoman said Wednesday.
The new statistics, particularly from such a large carrier, help define how many people are actually getting covered under the Affordable Care Act.
The Blues' experience is in line with anecdotal estimates from other insurance executives, who indicated earlier in the enrollment process that they received payments from about 80 percent of people who selected their plans.
The Blues' latest estimate includes policies that took effect Feb. 1 or earlier, the spokeswoman said.
Some health care analysts have suggested that the payment rate could improve later in the enrollment window, as plans had more time to track down consumers who hadn't paid.
Wherever the final number ends up, it will be the real measure of how many people are actually covered through the Affordable Care Act's exchanges. The Obama administration has been releasing the number of people who selected a plan, but says it doesn't have accurate data on how many have actually paid. And consumers don't have coverage they can use until they make that first payment.
If the nationwide payment rate, across all carriers, remains at 80 to 85 percent, the 7.1 million sign-ups Obama announced Tuesday would translate into somewhere between 5.7 and 6 million people who are actually covered.
Meanwhile, here in beautiful Colorado, our exchange (hailed as one of the State successes with Obamacare) isn't viable:
According to the Colorado Health Exchange’s own internal documents, the point at which Connect for Health Colorado would be viable, as of yesterday, was 136,300. That was a midline projection. Today, The Denver Post reported that the exchange had enrolled a paltry 118,000 private insurance members, which is 18,000 fewer than necessary to make the health insurance scheme self-sustaining. According to The Denver Post in November:
As federal startup grants taper off under Obamacare funding, the exchange is meant to pay for itself with per-member charges on the private insurance companies offering policies. It needs 136,300 enrollees in 2014 to raise $6.5 million of its $51.4 million expenses.
But, don’t worry, there are plenty of excuses for why the exchange missed its viability numbers by approximately 13%. From The Denver Post:
Those who started their applications prior to the deadline but were unable to complete it will be given more time (until the exchange gets to 136,300, we presume).
It’s actually next year that the exchange will be self-sustaining, not this year as promised and as forecast.
Here’s the problem with the excuses and rationales. The exchange has yet to meet a goal. This missed goal was a big one – right now, the exchange is not viable as the federal government eases its subsidies. But, the real question here – did the exchange enroll a high enough percentage of the young and healthy in order to offset the natural inclination of the exchange to be full of older, sicker patients? So far, the exchange hasn’t released that data, but we suspect that may be an additional issue that will compromise the viability of the exchange.