Originally published May 2 2014
U.S. Census data hijacked by feds to whitewash Obamacare failure
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) When President Obama assumed his oath of office in early 2009, one of his first efforts was, as we know, his push for (universal) healthcare coverage. What is less known is his coup against the U.S. Census Bureau.
As noted by the several recent news reports, at the time, a number of the president's political opponents recognized that there would be an inherent great potential for corruption in a deeply partisan administration gaining power and leverage over a federal department with a constitutional -- and nonpartisan -- mandate.
Two Republican lawmakers, Darrell Issa and Patrick McHenry, wrote a letter to Obama at the time to voice their concerns. "Requiring the Census director to report directly to [then-] White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is a shamefully transparent attempt by your administration to politicize the Census Bureau and manipulate the 2010 Census," the letter said.
Who could have known at the time that one of the changes the Obama administration would make regarding the Census Bureau was to ensure that enrollment data for a very unpopular healthcare "reform" law would be skewed and hidden.
'Total revision to health insurance questions'
In recent days, The New York Times reported that the Obama-controlled Census Bureau -- which has been the authoritative source of health insurance data for over 30 years -- is suddenly changing its annual survey so much that census officials said "it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama's health care law in the next report, due this fall," the paper reported.
Supposedly, the changes are intended to make the survey -- which is being conducted this month in the form of interviews with tens of thousands of households around the country -- more accurate. But officials say that the new questions are so different that the survey's findings won't be comparable to earlier ones.
According to an internal Census Bureau document obtained by the Times, the new questionnaire includes a "total revision to health insurance questions," and, in a test case last year, produced lower estimates of the uninsured. Therefore, the officials note, it will now be difficult (if not impossible) to determine how much of any change in newly insured is attributable to Obamacare, and how much to the use of a new survey instrument, the Times reported.
"We are expecting much lower numbers just because of the questions and how they are asked," Brett J. O'Hara, chief of the health statistics branch at the Census Bureau, told the paper.
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 an agency document describing the changes. This "break in trend" will sufficiently complicate efforts to trace the impact of the Affordable Care Act, it said.
You will recall that the enactment of the Affordable Care Act was vital -- vital, mind you -- so that, finally, anywhere between 35 million and 50 million Americans without health insurance (depending on whose number you want to use) would finally get coverage. And in fact, President Obama has bragged that some 8 million people have now signed up for coverage under the law (8 million, even if accurate, is a far cry from 50 million, but I digress).
Changing the questions to hide the truth
That said, the administration has so far been unable to say how many people now being covered under some sort of Obamacare exchange plan were previously uninsured to begin with, so net coverage figures are both unclear and, in terms of the overall point of the law, useless.
Unless, of course, they are not useless to the law's opponents -- and wouldn't accurate, comparable Census Bureau data prove one way or the other whether the law has succeeded in insuring the previously uninsured? If you were a serious policymaker and you wanted your new policy to succeed, wouldn't you want data showing success or failure, so that you'd know either that the law was on track, as planned, or that it still needed to be tweaked?
Of course you would. If you were serious about its success. But Obamacare was never anything more than a political tool of control. Honestly, the president has, by manipulating the data collected by an agency that answers to him, demonstrated that he cares about neither whether his signature legislation is effective nor whether it is working as advertised.
As noted by the Times:
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.
And while some polls have recently suggested that the number of uninsured Americans is declining, there is no scientific way (now) to determine whether that's even true, thanks to the president.
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