I don’t math good

My son is in this phase where he takes small numbers and turns them into giant ones. “Here, have two pancakes,” I say. “What about 10,000 pancakes?” he says. Sorry, kid, I don’t have enough flour. I have hopes he’ll grow out of it, but maybe not. Consider this nugget from Rand Paul:

For every Kentuckian that has enrolled in Obamacare, 40 have been dropped from their coverage.

Holy crap! That’s huge! That’s a disaster! That’s … mathematically impossible!

According to Politifact, Kentucky would have to import an additional 1.1 million insurance-having folks just to cancel their insurance using the data most generous to Paul. Using the more rational data set, the entire population of the Netherlands (16.5 million) would have to move to Kentucky and have their insurance canceled. Why the enormous difference between the generous-and-likely datasets?

Well, for one thing a 40x multiplier is frickin’ huge. The other is that the first number ignores the people who got coverage because of the Medicaid expansion in Kentucky, which is where most people in Kentucky got coverage through Obamacare but Republicans tend not to want to count. In Kentucky, 82,795 people signed up through private insurance and an additional 330,615 qualified for Medicaid.

What about here in Virginia? 216,000 people got insurance through the marketplace, and 0 signed up under the Medicaid expansion because Virginia is not participating in the Medicaid expansion. The Virginia Democratic Party has been saying for some time that we’re losing $5 million a day in federal funds because of that, but — here’s the thing — because I couldn’t source that, I haven’t repeated it. Politifact looked into it because holy crap that’s huge a disaster, and what did they find? Well, that’s more or less correct, but newer numbers have a lower figure:

[t]he $5 million-a-day figure comes from an old state estimate. The most recent estimate of expansion costs, released in January, breaks down to about $3.5 million a day for the budget year that starts this July 1. The federal contribution would be about $4.5 million a day during the following budget year, starting in mid-2015.

The reduction in estimate is because (get this):

[t]he cost per new enrollee has been lower than expected in states that have expanded [Medicaid]. That’s because the new Medicaid recipients are less likely to be disabled or require long-term care than those who already had been receiving benefits.

That would be the opposite of the health care system meltdown everyone has been expecting.

But listen to the wrong people and not only are premiums skyrocketing but Kentucky is importing Netherlanders just to cancel their health insurance. Math, people!

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