Every year the Census Bureau conducts a survey, and every year it includes health care questions. But The New York Times reports that the questions about health care coverage this year have been revised so drastically that it will be impossible to compare data from years before the implementation of Obama's sweeping health-care reform to data from years after it.
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.
A major goal of the law is to increase the number of people with health insurance. The White House reported that 7.5 million people signed up for private health plans on the new insurance exchanges and that enrollment in Medicaid increased by three million since October. But the administration has been unable to say how many of the people gaining coverage were previously uninsured or had policies canceled, so the net increase in coverage is unclear.
Health policy experts and politicians had been assuming that the Census Bureau would help answer those questions when it issued its report on income, poverty and health insurance, based on the Current Population Survey. [New York Times]