Floriduh Man: Presidential Campaign Rally Edition

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A BFD that passed amongst the chaos

In most strands of the multi-verse, the below would have sent the health wonk community ablaze. Instead in this strand, we spent all day yesterday talking about a proposed rule from CMS and generally shaking our head as our government continues to say “Hold my beer and watch this….”

But this is normally a BFD:

What does this mean?

Repeal and Replace or Repeal and Delay and Pray is dead. There is no coherent coalition of 218 and 51. The Republican Senate caucus can afford to lose two votes (assuming Democrats are healthy and have everyone show up). The 2016 ACA Repeal bill defunded Planned Parenthood and knocked out Medicaid Expansion. Either of those elements will cost the Republicans at least two votes. Combined, those two provisions probably cost the Republicans six to ten votes. That is a blocking coalition when combined with Democrats.

In the House, Speaker Ryan would like to pass anything with only Republican votes in order to not be hung out to dry like former Speaker Boehner (remember he has tough votes on the debt ceiling coming up). That means he needs 90% of his caucus on board with anything. The Republican House Freedom Caucus has enough members to deny Ryan a Republican only majority. The HFC is demanding a word for word replica of the 2016 bill.

This is a Big Biden Deal as the status quo bias works in our favor for the avalanche approach that I feared in November can’t get started. Long, boring committee meetings, calls to the CBO, wonks ripping apart a plan to help advocates find very sympathetic people to tell true stories with high emotional punch is where we’re going for anything more complicated than a technical correction bill or rebranding.

Is this lump out of my head? I think so

I don’t have any particular suggestions of activist things to do today, so I’ll let people leave suggestions.

In the interest of encouraging everyone to be more militant, I’ll relay a story. I was talking with a moderately totebaggerish friend of mine (he works in finance but has totebagger tendencies) and he was feeding me the line that, although he voted for Hillary, he hated having to do choose between a crook (Hillary) and a lunatic (Trump). I’m sure that he, and many people who think this way, get those kinds of ideas by reading MoDo and Bobo and Frank Bruni and the rest. There’s no other way to put it: centrist punditry rots your brain. I used to like to read that stuff to get a sense of how people were thinking, and I still do occasionally hate read it in limited doses. But it does represent a some kind of propaganda state that many people live in, no different from North Korea in its own way. It took me a while — probably a couple years — to get that crap out of my brain once and for all.

4.29% enrollment loss is the cost of Trump’s First Day EO

I’ve been playing a bit more with the 2016 and 2017 QHP data in an attempt to figure out the incremental cost of the Trump Executive order.  I think 4.25% is a good lower estimate.

My data is still here:

Data and Methods

I again excluded Kentucky and Louisiana.  Kentucky was switching from Kynect to Healthcare.gov while Louisiana had a mid-year Medicaid expansion.  I wanted to isolate the effect of the executive order from whatever the general trend in enrollment was.  I used the CMS enrollment snapshot for 2016 and 2017 that contained January 14th.  2016 was goes through January 16 while 2017 only goes through January 14th.  The 2016 report contains two extra days worth of data and more importantly, 2016 contains a deadline day as people who buy coverage by the 15th would see their policy start on February 1st.  We know deadlines spur enrollment.

CMS recognized this problem:

More than 8.8 million Americans were signed up for 2017 coverage through HealthCare.gov as of January 14, 2017. This compares to about 8.7 million sign-ups as of January 14 last year, as Americans continue to demonstrate strong demand for 2017 Marketplace coverage.

So on the 14th of each year, 2017 was running slightly ahead of 2016.  My data due to timing constraints will show 2016 running slightly ahead of 2017.   This is fine as the known flaw in the data favors the argument that the executive order had no impact.

So the question is what was the deviation from 1/15 to 1/31? If the Executive Order and the dropping of advertising and potentially elite knowledge networks disseminating anti-enrollment messaging or more likely fear, uncertainty and doubt about PPACA being a good play?

Analysis and Conclusion

2017 using my known flawed data was running .96% behind 2016 on the January 14th inclusive update.  2017 ended up running 5.25% behind 2016 on Healthcare.gov states.  The increment (using favorable to the null hypothesis data) slowdown in pace that can be attributed to Trump Administration actions is 5.25-.96 or 4.29% of enrollment was lost due to the executive order and other Trump administration actions such as shutting down some outreach and advertising in the last eleven days of enrollment.

4.29% is a minimal level of enrollment loss.  Using the January 14th pace, 2017 was running 1.1% ahead of 2016.  Charles Gaba is collecting data from the state based exchanges.  The state based exchanges ran their own marketing campaigns that did not get shut off on 1/20/17.  He is showing at least a 1.5% enrollment increase.  So more aggressive baselines can credibly argue that the Trump Administration actively discouraged 6% of the market from signing up.

Finally, here are some charts that I had fun creating as I worked through this problem.

You can be a hero in an age of none

I don’t want to keep fucking this chicken for too long, but Gillibrand really was smart to oppose all of Trump’s nominees. I’m sure Fred Hiatt doesn’t approve, but that’s the kind of the point.

We need to create a climate where Democratic toughness is incentivized. Politicians are calculating people by necessity. If they get a lot of positive attention by standing up to Trump, they’ll do that. If they get a lot of positive attention by acting very serious on the Charlie Rose show, they’ll do that instead.

Democrats in Congress should be competing to see who can be the most anti-Trump. So far, Kirsten Gillibrand seems to be winning. For that, I salute her.