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ObamaCare Clusterfuck: About those Medicaid numbers....

One of those "world turned upside down" things that keeps happening with the ObamaCare story: Megan McArdle isn't always wrong!

Don't Judge Obamacare by Medicaid Numbers
The latest reports we have on Medicaid enrollment suggest that 6.3 million people had been “deemed eligible” for Medicaid since Obamacare went live Oct. 1. But almost no one thinks that means 6.3 million people have gained new insurance; some of them were already eligible, and some of them won’t have actually signed up.

We don’t know how big the difference is between people who were deemed eligible and people who actually got new insurance. The new report, from health-care consultancy Avalere Health LLC, suggests that the answer is “very big”:

"Avalere estimates that from October through December 2013, between 1.1M and 1.8M people have newly enrolled in Medicaid as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)." ...

This is less than a quarter of the 8 million people that the Congressional Budget Office projected would enroll in Medicaid this year thanks to the health-care overhaul. However, unlike the exchanges, Medicaid will remain open for enrollment year-round, so the administration doesn’t need to sign up all those people in the next two months. We won’t really have a good sense of what this year’s Medicaid numbers will look like until we get data for April and May and see whether Medicaid enrollment falls off the way exchange enrollments are expected to, or whether it remains elevated throughout the year.

Still, this is a good reminder that the early gross data we’re getting from the administration aren’t necessarily a good guide to what the net result will be on insurance coverage.

Soft numbers and sloppy record keeping have been hallmarks of the ObamaCare project from the very beginning.

For some reason.

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