Thursday, September 15, 2011

Obama Pulls a Bush on Uninsured

President Obama talked and acted like his predecessor this week.  First, he echoed George W. who said small businesses were America's job generator.  Under W.'s tenure millions of jobs went across the Pacific to China. 

Second, Obama's Census Bureau reformulated their estimate of America's uninsureds, those without health care coverage.  Bush's Census Bureau did the same in 2004 and 2005. 

Here are the adjustments:

Bush - 1,000,000 (2004 & 2005)
Obama - 1,700,000 (2009)

If these reformulations had not occurred, the U.S. would have 52.6 million without health insurance.  Employers continue doing less, despite PPACA (something I predicted last year).

The percentage covered by employment-based health insurance declined from 56.1 percent to 55.3 percent. 
This decline should knock another 1.36 million people from employer sponsored health insurance rolls.   It only shed 500,000.

Obama's reformulation, accounting for foster children having access to Medicaid, somehow added 1 million people under employer coverage for 2009.

Here's the tale of two estimates regarding 2009:

Last year's estimate for 2009 - 169.7 million had employer coverage
This year's estimate for 2009 - 170.7 million had employer coverage

Fast forward to 2010, where the Obama administration projects 169.2 million with employer provided health insurance.  This is nearly 20 million more people than CBO projected in scoring PPACA.  What gives with the wide swings for 2010?

CBO showed employer coverage increasing under health reform, rising from 150 million to 162 million.  This clearly is a pipe dream.  Many expect the leaky, employer job-benefit dam to break in 2014, tossing millions more Americans into turbulent waters without coverage.

Over the Bush/Obama years employers covered 10% fewer Americans.  That's a 30.6 million person shift.  What employers dump, the individual or a tapped-out Uncle Sam must pick up.  That leaves many bearing lots of pain.

Update 10-5-11:  Senator Max Baucus claims 1 million young Americans have insurance due to PPACA.   That doesn't come close to making up for the 1.4 million losing employer coverage. 

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