KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Census Changes Will Make It Hard To Gauge Health Law’s Impact

The revisions are intended to make the survey more accurate, but specific questions will be so different that the results will not be comparable to previous years.

The New York Times: Census Survey Revisions Mask Health Law Effects
The Census Bureau, the authoritative source of health insurance data for more than three decades, is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall, census officials said. The changes are intended to improve the accuracy of the survey, being conducted this month in interviews with tens of thousands of households around the country. But the new questions are so different that the findings will not be comparable, the officials said (Pear, 4/15).

The Hill:  Census Overhaul Will Obscure Obamacare Effects
The Census Bureau is changing the way it calculates the number of people with health insurance, a move researchers say could obscure the true impact of ObamaCare. The bureau is overhauling the questions on its annual health insurance survey to make sure people understand that they are being asked whether they had coverage in the previous year (Viebeck, 4/15).

The Fiscal Times: Both Sides In Obamacare Fight Slam Census Bureau
The U.S. Census Bureau set [off] a mild firestorm in the health policy field on Tuesday after revealing to The New York Times that it was planning to execute a complete overhaul of the way that it measures health insurance coverage in the U.S. The new version of the decades-old survey is designed to get a better read on the number of uninsured people in the country, and is expected to produce results showing the rate as lower, in general, than the old report. The Times reported that the bureau was changing the survey so dramatically, "that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama's health care law in the next report, due this fall" (Garver, 4/15).

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