Unexpectedly: Census Bureau Overseen by White House Changes Health Survey

As a reminder, one of the first things Obama did in 2009 when he took office was to shift the Census Bureau to the White House.

“From the first days of the transition the Census has been a priority for the president, and a process he wanted to reevaluate,” – White House Spokesman Ben LaBolt.

Now we get to see how one politicizes the Census Bureau from a dull numerical gathering institution to one that is purposely changing the health care assessment portion of the survey the year we would see the effect Obamacare had on health insurance.  The Census bureau is literally cooking the books to hide what clearly the administration fears will be a bad result.  This latest revelation came from the NY Times

An internal Census Bureau document said that the new questionnaire included a “total revision to health insurance questions” and, in a test last year, produced lower estimates of the uninsured. Thus, officials said, it will be difficult to say how much of any change is attributable to the Affordable Care Act and how much to the use of a new survey instrument.

“We are expecting much lower numbers just because of the questions and how they are asked,” said Brett J. O’Hara, chief of the health statistics branch at the Census Bureau.

If you remember the reason we just had to pass this bill now was the amount of uninsured folks in this country which the Census folks admitted that the survey routinely over-inflated in the past.

The questionnaire traditionally used by the Census Bureau provides an “inflated estimate of the uninsured” and is prone to “measurement errors,” said a working paper by statisticians and demographers at the agency.

The number of unininsured when they drop, since now most assuredly they will regardless of what policy was in place, will falsely be attributed to Obamacare by the Democrats despite the White House now actively eliminating the ability to verify that as true.

This purposeful manipulation of data by this administration designed to protect an unpopular law should outrage all Americans.

There does seem to be some bipartisan disgust at this from health care pundits but the administration is counting on the fact that the average American won’t be paying attention.

Current reactions:

I'm speechless. Completely inexcusable. The administration deserves all of the criticism it will get, and then some. http://t.co/nQEzctGKKW

— Megan McArdle (@asymmetricinfo) April 15, 2014

"In 2013, twelvety-five Americans were uninsured. That total declined to eleventy in 2014." – The next Census report, apparently

— Jeffrey Young (@JeffYoung) April 15, 2014

It's insane for Census to change its method for measuring health insurance coverage right now. Why can't this wait? http://t.co/4RU0tlKNFd

— Josh Barro (@jbarro) April 15, 2014

Getting worked up into an increasingly heated health nerd rage about the Census changes. We're losing our best data source on Obamacare.

— Sarah Kliff (@sarahkliff) April 15, 2014

But then Vox talking points must have been distributed..

An admin. official tells me the new Census Qs will be used for 2013 survey, making the change less alarming than I'd initially thought.

— Sarah Kliff (@sarahkliff) April 15, 2014

RT @JeffYoung: I was promised if I liked my Census methodology, I could keep it.

— Aaron E. Carroll (@aaronecarroll) April 15, 2014