Not So Fast, Mr. President: ObamaCare is Not Working as Claimed

President Obama’s Claim that Over 3 Million Young Adults Gained Health Insurance Coverage on Their Parents’ Plan is Bogus

Real Number May Be As Low As 258,000

Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday President Obama claimed “more than 3 million young adults… have gained insurance under this law by staying on their family’s plan.” But that claim isn’t true, according a new National Policy Analysis paper, “A Slacking Figure: Despite What President Obama and the Los Angeles Times Say, 3.1 Million Young Adults Have Not Received Coverage via Their Parents’ Insurance,” from the National Center For Public Policy Research.

“That statistic is oft-repeated by the President and other ObamaCare supporters to boost the number of uninsured who have gotten coverage under the health care law,” said Dr. David Hogberg, author of the analysis. “But when you dig into the details, the statistic doesn’t hold up.”

In 2010 ObamaCare required insurers to allow “dependent children” to stay on their parents’ insurance up to the age of 26—the so-called “slacker mandate.” In June 2012, the Obama Administration released a report claiming that 3.1 million young adults had gained coverage due to the slacker mandate.

“That report inflated the numbers by including young adults who had gotten coverage via public programs like Medicaid,” said Dr. Hogberg. “Additionally, that report has never been updated by the Administration. Updating it with more recent data shows that the number of young adults who have gained coverage through their parents’ insurance had dropped to 2.2 million. Apparently the slacker mandate is losing its effectiveness.”

The analysis also shows that using data from the Census Bureau yields strikingly different results—only 258,000 young adults may have gained coverage due to the slacker mandate.

“Unfortunately, it’s not just ObamaCare supporters who dramatically exaggerate the claim,” said Dr. Hogberg. “The media often repeats it uncritically, as the Los Angeles Times did last Sunday. It’s time for the media to cast a more skeptical eye at Administration statistics on ObamaCare.”

Other health care publications by Dr. Hogberg are available here, and his March 11 testimony at the U.S. Senate on the problems with government-run health care systems can be viewed here.

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