Obama's Rose Garden phony numbers 'tell'

Thomas Lifson
The April Fool’s Day show put on in the Rose Garden yesterday was no triumph, but rather an act of desperation, touting “enrollment” numbers generated without any transparency, intended to arrest the downward spiral of Obamacare and the Democratic Party’s electoral prospects. Obama himself gave away the game unintentionally, in what poker players call a “tell” that consisted of two parts.

The first part of the tell was the obvious outright lie told by the president in a “poor me” moment of self-pity. From the official transcript:

And we didn’t make a hard sell.  We didn’t have billions of dollars of commercials like some critics did.  

Billions of dollars of commercials? Even if anyone believed the fairy tales about the Evil Koch Brothers, billions of dollars could not have been spent on anti-Obamacare commercials. That is the budget of an entire presidential campaign, planes, travel, and ubiquitous advertising, the whole nine yards.

The only advertising budget that even approaches that figure is the one spent by the federal and state governments promoting Obamacare. Last summer, the Associated Press tallied up the Obamacare spending plans of the feds and the states, and came up with the figure of $684 million. So lavish a marketing budget covered embarrassments like the $1.7 million tedious Richard Simmons video promoting Covered California:

and a variety of other tasteless, ludicrous, and insulting initiatives like the infamous Pajama Boy.

Even The New York Times reported that:

From January until the end of March, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the HealthCare.gov site and administers the Affordable Care Act, will have spent $52 million on paid media, officials said.

Not since New Coke has there been an advertising campaign so well-funded and so ineffective.

The second part of the tell was the body language component. Missing from the platform was HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who now becomes the Official Fall Guy.

Once the true numbers for Obamacare are uncovered, she will be blamed. Consider new data from the RAND Corporation, still unpublished, but shared with the Los Angeles Times (which used them in flattering piece on Obamacare) and teased out by the UK Daily Mail:

 ..just 23 per cent of new enrollees had no insurance before signing up. 

And of those newly insured Americans, just 53 per cent have paid their first month's premiums.

If those numbers hold, the actual net gain of paid policies among Americans who lacked medical insurance in the pre-Obamacare days would be just 858,298.

That would amount to roughly 2% of the 46 million uninsured claimed by President Obama to be the compelling reason for Obamacare’s disruption of the health insurance system in the United States.

The Obama administration has proven itself highly capable of stonewalling the release of inconvenient information. So the strategy here no doubt will be to drag out the release of actual details on who has paid, who was previously without insurance, and where the 7.1 million figure released just hours after the deadline came from.

It is smoke and mirrors, but that is the way of Obama, and has been throughout his entire national political career.

The April Fool’s Day show put on in the Rose Garden yesterday was no triumph, but rather an act of desperation, touting “enrollment” numbers generated without any transparency, intended to arrest the downward spiral of Obamacare and the Democratic Party’s electoral prospects. Obama himself gave away the game unintentionally, in what poker players call a “tell” that consisted of two parts.

The first part of the tell was the obvious outright lie told by the president in a “poor me” moment of self-pity. From the official transcript:

And we didn’t make a hard sell.  We didn’t have billions of dollars of commercials like some critics did.  

Billions of dollars of commercials? Even if anyone believed the fairy tales about the Evil Koch Brothers, billions of dollars could not have been spent on anti-Obamacare commercials. That is the budget of an entire presidential campaign, planes, travel, and ubiquitous advertising, the whole nine yards.

The only advertising budget that even approaches that figure is the one spent by the federal and state governments promoting Obamacare. Last summer, the Associated Press tallied up the Obamacare spending plans of the feds and the states, and came up with the figure of $684 million. So lavish a marketing budget covered embarrassments like the $1.7 million tedious Richard Simmons video promoting Covered California:

and a variety of other tasteless, ludicrous, and insulting initiatives like the infamous Pajama Boy.

Even The New York Times reported that:

From January until the end of March, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the HealthCare.gov site and administers the Affordable Care Act, will have spent $52 million on paid media, officials said.

Not since New Coke has there been an advertising campaign so well-funded and so ineffective.

The second part of the tell was the body language component. Missing from the platform was HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who now becomes the Official Fall Guy.

Once the true numbers for Obamacare are uncovered, she will be blamed. Consider new data from the RAND Corporation, still unpublished, but shared with the Los Angeles Times (which used them in flattering piece on Obamacare) and teased out by the UK Daily Mail:

 ..just 23 per cent of new enrollees had no insurance before signing up. 

And of those newly insured Americans, just 53 per cent have paid their first month's premiums.

If those numbers hold, the actual net gain of paid policies among Americans who lacked medical insurance in the pre-Obamacare days would be just 858,298.

That would amount to roughly 2% of the 46 million uninsured claimed by President Obama to be the compelling reason for Obamacare’s disruption of the health insurance system in the United States.

The Obama administration has proven itself highly capable of stonewalling the release of inconvenient information. So the strategy here no doubt will be to drag out the release of actual details on who has paid, who was previously without insurance, and where the 7.1 million figure released just hours after the deadline came from.

It is smoke and mirrors, but that is the way of Obama, and has been throughout his entire national political career.