GOP House Committee report so full of crap I couldn't fit it all in one post (UPDATED)

Last night, after the GOP House Energy & Commerce Committee issued a rather lame report claiming that "only 67%" of QHP enrollees via the Federal Marketplace (ie, HC.gov) had paid their premiums as of April 15th, I pointed out how embarrassingly flawed this report was, including the following vital points:

  • Their 67% figure assumed that all enrollees as of 4/15 were supposed to be due by 4/15 (in fact, only about 63% of the total enrollments were due by 4/15; the rest weren't due until yesterday, or even later depending on the insurance company)
  • Their "only 67%" claim flies in the face of public statements by the insurance companies themselves, who are quite clear that the actual paid percentages range anywhere from 80-95%
  • They curiously failed to include two states--Idaho and New Mexico--in their own state-by-state breakdown, even though both of those states were part of the Federal Marketplace for the 2014 open enrollment period (both are scheduled to switch to their own exchanges this fall, but that's irrelevant to the existing enrollments)
  • Even if the 67% figure was accurate for the 36 states on the federal exchange, the paid rates for the other 14 state-run exchanges (+DC) ranged from 68% - 100% as of 4/15, including WA & MA at 100%, CA at 85% (making up nearly 20% of the 8M total) and so on, meaning that the actual overall paid rate nationally as of 4/15 was considerably higher than 67%.

However, there's even more:

Adding these into the mix, it's safe to say that even if the 67% number for HC.gov WAS accurate as of 4/15, when you include all of the state-based exchanges, the total paid rate as of 4/15 was closer to 75% or more.

HOWEVER, even that 67% figure is highly questionable, for a couple of reasons:

First, as noted above, the House GOP report doesn't include Idaho or New Mexico at all. Why? They don't say. Weird.

Second, they list the percentages, but nowhere on the report do they list what those percentages are based on.

Let's take my own state of Michigan. According to the GOP report, as of April 15, only 55% of the total QHPs had been paid for. 55% of what number, however? The GOP's accompanying press release makes it quite clear that THEY'RE referring to ALL enrollments through 4/15...but Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has already stated that a whopping 95% of their enrollees are paid up. BCBSM is by far the largest health insurance provider in Michigan. I don't know their exact market share, but I'm pretty sure it's well over 50% of the total.

So, in order for the GOP's "55% in Michigan" to be accurate, they're basically saying that 95% of Blue Cross's customers paid...but NOT A SINGLE CUSTOMER has paid for any of the other 8 companies (HAP, Total Health Care, Alliance, Humana, McLaren, Priority Health and so on). Somehow I find that extremely difficult to believe.

Finally, there's another very strange number included in the GOP's press release:

As of April 15, 2014, insurers informed the committee that only 2.45 million had paid their first month’s premium for coverage obtained through the federally facilitated marketplace. 

According to the GOP House Committee, 2.45 million = 67% of those who enrolled via Healthcare.Gov.

That would mean that the total number of HC.gov enrollments would have to be:

  • (2.45 / X) = (67 / 100)
  • 2.45 x 100 = (67)X
  • 245 = (67)X
  • X = 3.66 million

So, the GOP report is claiming that out of 8 million enrollees through 4/15 nationally, only 3.66 million of them came through HC.gov.

EXCEPT, take a look at the prior months:

October:

  • 79,391 State / 26,794 Fed / 106,185 Total
  • 74.8% State / 25.2% Federal

November:

  • 148,087 State / 110,410 Fed / 258,497 Total
  • 57.3% State / 42.7% Federal

December:

  • 729,513 State / 1,059,226 Fed / 1,788,739 Total
  • 40.8% State / 59.2% Federal

January:

  • 402,913 State / 743,158 Fed / 1,146,071 Total
  • 35.2% State / 64.8% Federal

February:

  • 261,335 State / 681,498 Fed / 942,833 Total
  • 27.7% State / 72.3% Federal

As of March 1st, the Federal Marketplace (HC.gov) had already enrolled 2,621,086 people.

As of March 1st, the total enrollments were 4,242,325. Subtract that from 8 million as of 4/15 and you have 3,757,675 between 3/02 - 4/15.

In order for the GOP's 2.45 million figure to be correct, they're claiming that only 1.14 million of that 3.76 million enrolled via HC.gov...or just 30% of the totals in March and April.

This is absolutely insane on the face of it. As you can see, HC.gov started out with 25% of the total in October, but steadily increased every single month:

  • 25% in October
  • 43% in November
  • 59% in December
  • 65% in January
  • 72% in February

And yet the GOP wants you to believe that HC.gov magically plummeted back down to only 30% in March and April, even though neither Washington nor Connecticut were even offering an extension period at all??

Nonsense.

The only other possibility is that they got that 2.45M figure from...somewhere else, based on some earlier total. Perhaps it's not based on 8M total, in which case they're lying in the press release portion. We really don't know where it came from, because they never tell us.

UPDATE: Oh, yeah...one more thing:

You know those letters which were sent out to the insurance companies in the first place (ie, the source for the "67%" number)?

Those were sent out way back on March 13th.

When were they actually responded to by the insurance companies? We don't know.

What date was the payment data within the responses current through? We don't know.

Bottom line: It's a shame that press releases are issued online these days; if this had been sent out as a hard copy, you could at least line your bird cage with it. As it stands, it's just a waste of electrons.