A change to the Census Bureau survey could affect how they measure the uninsured — and that could impact, and complicate, how the effects of Obamacare are measured.
The new questionnaire — being conducted this month — includes a “total revision” to questions about health insurance, just as analysts are trying to get solid data on how well the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is working.
Previously the Census asked people if they had coverage at any point in the prior year, according to the Times. The new questions ask if they have insurance “at the time of the interview,” which in this case took place in February, March and April. Officials use that and other data to try to determine coverage over the last 15 months.
The Times reported that when both questionnaires were used last year, the number of Americans without insurance came in around 2 percent lower under the new questions.
The Census will now ask respondents questioning referring to PPACA: whether they obtained health coverage on the exchanges and if the federal government subsidized their plans.
Republicans and other opponents seized on the changes, arguing they’re intended to mask the failure of Obamacare.