Census Changes Could Hinder Measurement of PPACA Impact
Significant revisions to the health insurance questions included in the Census Bureau's annual survey will make it hard to assess the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, census officials have told The New York Times.
Changes to the survey this year to increase accuracy will mean a likely "break in series" for health insurance coverage estimates, meaning it will be difficult to determine if changes in the uninsured rate stem from the revised questionnaire or the PPACA, according to the report.
According to the Census Bureau, the old survey produced an erroneously inflated estimate of the uninsured population. Previously, the census asked people if they had various kinds of health insurance coverage during the previous year. However, consumers had a tendency to instead give answers about their insurance at the time of the survey. The new questionnaire asks them about their coverage status at the time of the interview, according to the report.
Last week, prior to her resignation as HHS secretary, Kathleen Sebelius told the Senate Finance Committee enrollment in the PPACA exchanges had reached 7.5 million. However, it isn't clear how many of those enrollees were previously uninsured. Last week, a Gallup poll found the U.S. uninsured rate had dropped to 15.6 percent in the first quarter of this year, its lowest level since 2008.
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