Jay Inslee is proclaiming that—based what appears to be a flawed Gallup poll—Washington State’s rate of uninsured residents is down to 10.7% from 16.8% due to the supposed success of Obamacare. Inslee publically announced, “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we enrolled more than 600,000 people in health coverage through our exchange, the Washington Healthplanfinder. The result is a significant drop in our uninsurance rate, down to 10.7 percent from 16.8 percent before open enrollment. It’s the 4th biggest drop in the nation.” That’s all well and good… if the figures that Inslee is touting to prove a “significant drop” in the rate of uninsured added up to actually verified data, instead of the political spin he is so used to providing.
On April 23, 2014, the Washington State Health Benefit Exchange “reported that a total of 1 million people had signed up for health insurance on the exchange, with 164,000 in the private market and the remainder in the Medicaid program.” Based on this information, the Washington Policy Center points out that “if Gallup estimates Washington state enrolled 600,000, the poll is off by 400,000 (1 million minus 600,000). This is an error factor of at least 40 percent. It makes the poll highly suspicious and the Governor’s statement almost meaningless.”
The Washington State Insurance Commissioner’s office stated that 290,000 Washingtonians “lost or were forced off their existing health insurance” due to Obamacare. Just how many of the “1 million newly insured on the exchange were previously uninsured” remains unknown.
What is known? Due to insurance companies holding down “premium costs in the private market by narrowing provider networks,” Americans will find it increasingly difficult to access health care. Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) now estimates that the cost of Obamacare to Americans will amount to “$2 trillion over the next ten years and will not bend the health care cost curve down.” And yet, Inslee is celebrating.