Charles Gaba's blog

This is the first time I've updated The Graph in awhile, for an obvious reason: Since the end of Open Enrollment (including the "Waiting in Line" extension period) there's only been a tiny smattering of data updates, from Colorado, DC, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Rhode Island...and only 2 of those include any of March. Slim pickings indeed. Of course, the #ACATaxTime Special Enrollment Period kicked off on the 15th in most states, so things should have picked up, but unless the HHS Dept. surprises me, you're not likely to hear anything official about it until after April 30th (and possibly not even then). (Update: Yay! They'll issue some sort of enrollment update next week after all!)

Still, based on the snippets of data I do have since 2/22, along with last year's off-season pattern and some educated guesswork for the tax season SEP, here's where I think things should stand as of Monday, March 23rd, 2015...otherwise known as the 5 year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act being signed into law by President Obama (make sure to click the image for a higher-resolution version):

So, some outfit called the Foundation for Government Accountability released a Big Survey which claims that Americans hate Obamacare, that they "don’t expect or want states to bail out Congress or the Obama administration" and that they're "prepared to vote against their state lawmakers the next time they’re up for re-election if they set up a state exchange."

First of all, who the heck is the Foundation for Government Accountability? Well, according to Wikipedia:

The Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) is a free market think tank based in Naples, Florida.[3]

The FGA was founded in 2011 by Tarren Bragdon, a former Maine legislator and past CEO of the Maine Heritage Policy Center.[4] The organization's stated mission is to "promote better lives for individuals and families by equipping policymakers with principled strategies to replace failed health and welfare programs nationwide."[5]

Hmmm...the headline looks bad, but when you read further it's clearly a matter of perspective more than anything else:

Maryland's health insurance exchange improperly billed the federal government $28.4 million, a Department of Health and Human Services audit reported Friday.

An inspector general's probe found a lack of oversight and internal controls, not criminal wrongdoing, was the cause of the exchange's problems since the marketplace opened in 2013.

Look, I'm not trying to be an obnoxious pain in the ass, but I've been asking for weeks now whether or not the HHS Dept. will or won't be releasing off-season enrollment data for HealthCare.gov, at least during the #ACATaxTime special enrollment period, with nary a peep in response.

Last year, they didn't provide any off-season enrollment reports, but at least they announced as much. I was upset about it, but at least I knew.

Since things are a bit slow at the moment (and inspired by this post (on Facebook, natch) from dKos Sr. Campaign Director Chris Bowers), I figured this would be a good time to ask for some love for the ACA Signups Facebook Page.

As for Twitter, while my personal account is the best known, If you'd prefer just the ACA posts without my personal garbage posts, don't forget to follow the official ACA Signups Twitter Feed.

That is all.

In the midst of a pretty quiet week data-wise, the Washingotn HealthPlanFinder had a pleasant surprise: An extremely comprehensive enrollment report which breaks down their 2015 numbers every which way possible and, of particular importance to me, also includes data up through March 9th (as opposed to the Feb. 21st cut-off of most of the other state exchanges).

As an additional bonus, the accompanying press release also brings the QHP enrollment numbers even further up to date...right up through March 25th, I think (the PR doesn't specify the exact date of that number, but it's a few thousand higher than the enrollment report so I'm assuming it includes the 16 extra days).

First up: The top-of-the-fold numbers:

Washington Healthplanfinder Enrolls 165,000 in Qualified Health Plans; Annual Enrollment Report Released

Special Enrollment Opportunity Still Available through April 17

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 26, 2015, 10:00 am PST

You know, in the year and a half that I've been running this site, I've had a couple of "hit pieces" written about me online (the two which come to mind are the "Online Majority/Newsbusters" incident and the "Investor's Business Daily" piece) and have received plenty of email/comments from critics. However, I've never received a full-on, completely-disconnected-from-reality, frothing-at-the-mouth, speaking-in-tongues rant before...until now.

With that in mind, I present to you the email I received last night from one "Richard Frates" (I am, however, posting it as a series of images rather than the actual text since the last thing I need is for Google searches about this gibberish to bring up my site):

CLARIFICATION: A few folks have inquired whether this is simply an auto-generated spambot thing not directed at me personally (especially since there's nary a peep about the ACA in the blathering). This may be the case...except it was actually sent as a series of 4 contact form submissions in a row, over a 10 minute period. In other words, if it was a random submission, I'm pretty sure it was still done manually, not via auto-script.

I can't even...

Here’s why lawmakers should not speak without notes

“If you just do simple multiplication, 12 million [insured individuals] into $108 billion, we are talking literally every single [Obamacare] recipient would be costing this government more than $5 million per person for their insurance. It’s staggering….$108 billion for 12 million people is immoral. It’s unconscionable. ”

– Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.), statement on the House floor, March 24, 2015

Glenn Kessler corrects his math, but...really, is it now necessary to do the arithmetic that my 3rd grade son was able to do in his head a year ago?

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