How nice. It seems we’ve decided to change the questions as to determine how many people are insured in the US and how many are not. Timely. This is the data source we used to determine there was a problem, to begin with. But, now, we’ve changed the questions, presumably to be more accurate. Turns out, this change happened last year.
From teh NY Times ….
WASHINGTON — The Census Bureau, the authoritative source ofhealth insurance data for more than three decades, is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects ofPresident 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.
A major goal of the law is to increase the number of people with health insurance. The White House reported that 7.5 million people signed up for private health plans on the new insurance exchanges and that enrollment in Medicaid increased by three million since October. But the administration has been unable to say how many of the people gaining coverage were previously uninsured or had policies canceled, so the net increase in coverage is unclear.
Health policy experts and politicians had been assuming that the Census Bureau would help answer those questions when it issued its report on income, poverty and health insurance, based on the Current Population Survey. The annual report shows the number of people with various kinds of health insurance and the number of uninsured for the nation and for each state.
Several recent private polls, including one by the Gallup organization, suggest that the number of uninsured is indeed declining, because of the Affordable Care Act and improvements in the economy.
Census officials and researchers have long expressed concerns about the old version of insurance questions in the Current Population Survey.
The questionnaire traditionally used by the Census Bureau provides an “inflated estimate of the uninsured” and is prone to “measurement errors,” said a working paper by statisticians and demographers at the agency.
In the test last year, the percentage of people without health insurance was 10.6 percent when interviewers used the new questionnaire, compared with 12.5 percent using the old version. Researchers said that they had found a similar pattern in the data for different age, race and ethnic groups.
Shocking, I know. Hey!! Guess how many people are represented by about 2% of the US population? …. a little more than 6 million.
But, here’s something to consider. The law was intended to cover every American. The problem was, there were 35,45, or even 50 million Americans not covered by health insurance. It doesn’t matter what they’re babbling about, we haven’t come close to insuring all Americans.
Personally, I can’t wait for the climate science like numbers they’re going to try and push on the American public. I hope they do. If the public buys it, then they deserve every bit of pain, misery and even death, which was promised by Zerocre. But, I believe we’ll hear a huge popping sound!
Actually, we have a great template set by Zero, himself. I think we should have it optional. If you want to participate in Zerocare, then power to you. If you don’t, then so be it. And, insurance companies should be required to present both options. Make sure the government subsidy is gone and then see how it goes.