The Daily Caller (TheDC), a website run by Fox News supplicant Tucker Carlson, has published what they laughably refer to as an “investigation” into “the numbers on the hilariously sad failure of Obamacare.” Unfortunately for them, what ends up being hilariously sad is their inept attempt to malign a program that is showing objective signs of success and is gaining in popularity.
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TheDC based their article on reports of the Obama administration’s estimates that about half a million people would enroll in the ObamaCare exchanges in the first month. However, the launch of the online component of the program was something less than optimal, to put it mildly. As a result, enrollment was severely hampered.
It is was on this basis that TheDC concluded that ObamaCare has failed. But their own numbers tell a different story. TheDC cites an analysis by Millward Brown Digital, a private marketing firm, who estimate that 36,000 people enrolled in a new health care plan on the federal exchange in the first week. And according to an article in The Atlantic, an additional 115,000 enrolled via the the state exchanges. That’s about 150,000 enrollees in the first week, despite the software glitches. Extrapolate that number out for 50 more weeks, or one full year, and you get 7.5 million. The Department of Health and Human Services estimated that they would enroll seven million people the first year. Therefore, these numbers suggest that they will exceed their estimates.
Of course there are stipulations that need to be addressed. For one thing, there is an open enrollment period that only goes through March of 2014, so consumers cannot enroll from April to October of next year. However, it also needs to be considered that, absent the glitches, many more people would have already enrolled. It is highly likely that when the system is more stable enrollments will increase exponentially, not only due to the system’s availability, but to the demand for high quality, low cost insurance. In fact, information published by The Atlantic, but ignored by The DC who used the article as their source, shows that where the exchanges where functional, public response was quite positive:
“[T]he data suggests what must be a welcome proof of concept for the exchanges. The demand is there and people are completing applications through the marketplaces at a solid clip where it’s possible for them to do so.”
Also not reported in TheDC’s investigation is that, while only 36,000 were reported to have enrolled, there were over nine million visitors to Healthcare.gov in the first week, and over a million of them completed registrations. A completed registration is the best indication of an intention to enroll at a later date. A more complete reporting of the Millward Brown Digital study that TheDC excerpted reveals a far more optimistic appraisal of the program. And as confirmation of that, week two enrollments increased 31 percent.
So even using the TheDC’s numbers, which were significantly reduced due to technical problems, ObamaCare appears well on its way to success. The “sad failure” hoped for by TheDC and the rest of the right-wing opponents of Americans having access to health care is clearly not going to materialize. So in order to distract from that fact, TheDC chose to flesh out their phony investigation with ridiculous comparisons to other online subscription services, beginning with a bondage and sadomasochism site. The sexual fetishism of TheDC’s reporting continued with other comparisons to sites about boobs and sugar daddies.
However, all of the comparisons mentioned by theDC were not only childish, they were irrelevant. Subscriptions to online services that have been available for years, particularly those with sexual content, cannot be reasonably compared to a brand new government site offering health insurance coverage that has only been online for two weeks.
In another example of the right-wing media’s dishonesty, last Friday Fox News aired an episode of Sean Hannity’s program that included three couples who, according to Hannity, were “feeling the pain of Obamacare and the healthcare overhaul train wreck.” However, when an aide to the former governor of Montana contacted these alleged victims, what he discovered was that not a single one of them had even bothered to look at the insurance exchange to ascertain whether or not they would be helped or harmed. In every case, as it turns out, they would have paid thousands less annually in premiums. They were simply blindly opposed to ObamaCare without any direct knowledge of it, and that’s certainly why Hannity chose them to appear on his show. This is typical of the dimwitted and deceitful brand of journalism practiced by conservative media in general, and by Fox News and TheDC in particular.
[Note: The Fox News community website and Fib Factory, Fox Nation, featured TheDC's story as their top headline news item on both Friday and Saturday]
In the end, what’s really hilariously sad is a pseudo-journalist who once said that Fox News is “a mean, sick group of people,” but now is reduced to working for them and regurgitating their flagrant falsehoods and propaganda.
[Update] News reports now reveal that the ObamaCare exchanges have received 476,000 applications in the first two weeks. That’s just shy of the half million that the administration had estimated. And before anyone tries to dismiss this as liberal media trickery, the news outlet reporting this is Fox News.