It appears that the Obama administration has been playing ‘smoke and mirrors’ with the census. It’s either incompetence at all levels of this White House or something far worse. Texas Republican Blake Farenthold, chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care, and Entitlements, thinks so.
It was reported Tuesday that extensive changes to the agency's annual survey will make it virtually impossible to track how Obamacare has affected Americans. It’s almost too coincidental for many lawmakers in Washington already conditioned by the IRS scandal, Benghazi and “Fast and Furious.”
Rep. Farenthold told Newsmax, "The census should not be political. These reports do nothing but give more weight to Americans’ level of general distrust in the Obama administration, especially after the president's failed promise that 'if you like your health insurance, you can keep it,' " the two-term congressman said.
The New York Times had already reported that “extensive revamping of the bureau's survey,” had occurred prior to its use in September. It was approved by the Office of Management and Budget, the same agency where Obama found his new HSS secretary, Kathleen Burwell.
Brett J. O’Hara, chief of the Census Bureau's health statistics operation, told the Times, “We are expecting much lower numbers just because of the questions and how they are asked." The questions are “considered” too complex for the man in the street. Is that so, or could it be the final tally is not to the liking of Obamacare advocates?
The bureau has long been considered the authority on health data, the Times reports. The changes seek to improve the survey's accuracy, but bureau officials told the newspaper that the questions are so different that it will be very difficult to compare the results with data from previous years.
A new survey, with rephrased questions that is more to the bureau’s taste, including a "total revision to health insurance questions, will be sanctioned costing millions in taxpayer money." The initial survey produced lower estimates on uninsured Americans, according to the Times.
Therein lays the rub. The changes include more detailed questions about whether people were offered insurance at work and whether they accepted it, the Times reports. If a worker does not have employer coverage, the survey asks why.
Suspiciously, a number of the “new” questions were requested by the Department of Health and Human Services (Kathleen Sebelius’s own haunt until she “resigned) and the White House Council of Economic Advisers (hand-picked), the Times reports.
Census data plays a key role in how $400 billion in federal and state funding is allocated every year for such services as public health, education, transportation and neighborhood improvements. The Census Bureau operates as an independent entity within the U.S. Commerce Department – the boss is Commerce Secretary, but, and this is a big but, he reports to its director who is appointed by President Barack Obama. In 2009, Obama moved the bureau under the Office of Management in Budget, which falls under the purview of the White House.
If the director wants to keep his job, he’d better make the president happy or end up like Kathleen Sebelius who “resigned.”
That cozy situation brought Rep. Farenthold to tell Newsmax, "My subcommittee will be thoroughly investigating this issue and demanding answers from Census officials on allegations that the Census Bureau is changing the wording of survey questions used to determine our nation’s annual report on health insurance coverage."
Understandably, Sebelius’s replacement, Kathleen Burwell, is as happy as a clam. Strangely though, the White House has not “been able” to say how many of the 7.5 million Americans had no health insurance beforehand or had lost policies since the enrollment period began.
Anyone who believes that should look into the purchase of swamp land in Florida.
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