Wednesday, September 12, 2012

“Forward?” Census Data Show Obama’s Economic Damage

As we previously noted, the Administration is likely to “spin” the modest gains in the number of insured Americans as due to Obamacare’s under-26 health insurance mandate.  Census Bureau officials already mentioned the provision in their conference call announcing the uninsured data, and other Administration officials are likely to follow suit.

But the real story behind today’s uninsured numbers is not that Obamacare worked, but that the “stimulus” didn’t.  The graph below tells the tale: From 2007 through 2011, the number of individuals with employer-based insurance fell by nearly 9 million – from 179 million in 2007 to 170.1 million last year – while Medicaid enrollment exploded 28%, from 39.7 million in 2007 to 50.8 million last year.  And that’s even before Obamacare could result in 25 million more Americans enrolling in the Medicaid program, according to the Medicare actuary.

As the chart below makes clear, the data reflect economic trends that pre-date President Obama’s term in office.  But as last year’s 2.3 million increase in Medicaid enrollment demonstrates, President Obama’s economic policies haven’t improved the existing trends – and in some cases have accelerated the damage.  If the Administration wants to claim that Obamacare’s under-26 mandate helped reduce the number of uninsured, then it should similarly accept responsibility for the economic policies under which there are nearly 4 million more uninsured – and over 8 million more individuals on Medicaid – then when Barack Obama was elected four years ago.