“Our rolls dropped from 750,000 to 580,000 in the first couple of years,” Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour crowed last week on Capitol Hill, referring to alleged Medicaid enrollment trends after he took office in January 2004. If it had even an ounce of truth, that would be a whopping 22.7 percent decline! There’s just one small problem, the potential 2012 GOTP presidential candidate’s numbers are misleading; at least according to statistics provided by his own administration.
Of course there’s nothing new in a conservative candidate playing fast and loose with numbers, and that’s just what Boss Barbour did both while speaking in Washington and later while pressing the flesh with voters in the early primary state of New Hampshire.
The Division of Medicaid inside the Mississippi Governor’s Office, changed the method it used for counting Medicaid enrollment in 2006, almost midway into his first term. OK, so what? Well, Barbour’s numbers only come close to working if he uses a beginning figure from the old counting method and an end figure from the new method – a huge, colossal, big time apples-to-oranges comparison.
Under the old method, some Medicaid recipients were counted more than once in a single reporting period. For example, if a person dropped off the Medicaid rolls, for whatever reason, and re-enrolled during the same month, that counted as two enrollments rather than one. Under the new method, adopted by Barbour’s administration, the duplicate statistics for enrollment are eliminated; so when a person drops off the rolls and later signs back up in the same month, it only counts as one enrollment rather than two.
Why change the method on how enrollments were counted? No one knows for sure – or at least that’s what Boss Barbour’s people are claiming. But here’s a theory. What if he did it for the very reason he’s trying to exploit right now, so the numbers would drop, and drop dramatically, and then he could claim to be the Medicaid Messiah of the far right?
According to Mississippi Medicaid spokesman Francis Rullan, if someone uses the old method of counting, then Mississippi’s average monthly Medicaid enrollment during fiscal 2004 was 768,004. Barbour took office midway through that year. Applying the old method to today’s numbers, the March 2011 enrollment was 741,000, Rullan said. That’s a drop of 27,004, or 3.5 percent, in Medicaid enrollment since Barbour took office, not the 22.7% the GOTP hopeful is pushing.
Now, let me see, is there a difference there? Well, yeah … there’s a big difference between claiming a 22.7% drop and a 3.5% supposed drop.
But wait for it…
Iif someone uses the new method of counting, then figuring from when Barbour took office in January 2004, and Mississippi’s Medicaid enrollment was 574,852. After fluctuating up, down and then back up, enrollment hit 633,543 in January 2011. Any basic statistics class can figure this out; it’s an increase of 58,691, or 10.2 percent, during Barbour’s first seven years in office. AN INCREASE! Not the 22.7% decrease he’s claiming, but a 10.2% INCREASE!
Boss Barbour is a LIAR! Or at best, he’s a flim flam man, a con artist, a charlatan! He’s the living breathing epitome of today’s GOTP candidate.
Who cares if he’s a liar, making stuff up as he goes along? He’s white, male, southern, conservative, and Christian! And that’s all that matters to the right wing fringe – aka the Tea Party – controlling today’s GOTP. Let’s see, a man who purposefully manipulates numbers so he comes across as the greatest thing in conservatism since the Gipper. Is he electable? Not to the vast majority of voters who don’t worship at the icon of conservatism. Which, thank goodness means he may appeal to the right wing nut jobs – aka the Tea Party – but to the rest of America he’ll come across as the man he is, Boss Barbour.