Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Greg Mankiw's Blog: Sometimes it's better to split the baby

Greg Mankiw's Blog: Sometimes it's better to split the baby: "This story about the Census Bureau is amazing to me: The Census is changing its annual survey about health insurance.  As a result, the new data will not be comparable to the old, making it much harder to gauge the effects of the Affordable Care Act.

 Is this a White House conspiracy to hide the effects of the law, as some have suggested?  Maybe, but probably not. I have a lot of respect for the government data producers, so I am giving them the benefit of the doubt."

'via Blog this'

Maybe I'm too conspiracy minded, but I'm not giving this White House the benefit of the doubt, mostly because it seems like we've been hoodwinked twice already.

Remember the sudden drop in unemployment rate from 8.2 to 7.8 in the run up to the 2012 presidential election? The timing seemed suspicious. I remember talking with as friend (Brett) about this on a visit. I told him I did not think the drop reflected a real decrease in unemployment, but I did think that the numbers were honestly complied, and that drop was just a sampling error or statistical anomaly of some kind. But then this report came out indicating that, in fact, the numbers were manipulated.

Similar things have happened with Obamacare enrollment. For months we could get no data on how many people had enrolled, how many had paid, how many of the enrollee had insurance plans that were cancelled. Then, on the day after the deadline, presumably because they eked out their goal of 7 million, we were told there were 7.1 million enrollees. I still don't think we have numbers about how many of those were previously insured.

So, again, maybe I'm too conspiracy minded, but I don't see any reason to give this administration the benefit of the doubt now.

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