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Megan McArdle

Dueling Numbers on Obamacare

Republican lawmakers try to stir the Obamacare pot with some bad numbers.
Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The official report for Obamacare's first open enrollment period is now out. Very little is surprising: Slightly more than 8 million people enrolled, most of them by April 1. About two-thirds of people enrolled through the federal exchanges, and one-third through state marketplaces.

The more lively debate came from a report by Republican lawmakers that purported to show that only 67 percent of people who bought policies on the federal marketplace had paid. The report is basically useless -- I just spent several hours trying to break down the data in order to extract an interesting conclusion, only to conclude that the data are simply insufficient. The report only collected data up to April 15, even though people had until April 30 to pay. Democrats screamed about the unfairness of it all, having apparently just discovered that they didn't like it when politicians selectively release data about the exchanges in order to bolster their political fortunes.