March 7th, 2010
06:15 PM ET
5 years ago

CNN Fact Check: Are 15K people a day losing health insurance?

(CNN) - In the Obama administration's push to finally get its health care proposals through Congress, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius hit the Sunday talk shows to hammer home the costs of failure.

"I think we know what doing nothing looks like, and it looks pretty scary. Fifteen thousand people a day lose their insurance, and some of those folks are being actually priced out of the marketplace," Sebelius told NBC's "Meet the Press."

Fact Check: Are 15,000 people a day losing health insurance?

(Get the facts and the bottom line after the jump)


- Similar figures have been cited before by administration officials, including President Barack Obama himself. They appear to have been drawn from a February 2009 report by the liberal Center for American Progress, a supporter of Obama's drive to overhaul the U.S. health-care system.

– At that time, the unemployment rate had grown from 7.4 percent in December 2008 to 8.2 percent in February 2009. That meant more than 1.1 million workers joined the jobless rolls. Using a model developed by another liberal-leaning think-tank, the Urban Institute, the center calculated that about 900,000 of those people lost their health coverage. Put another way, that's about 14,000 per day.

– But since then, the U.S. unemployment rate climbed as high as 10.1 percent before falling to the current figure of 9.7 percent. The federal jobs report that came out Friday found that the economy shed 36,000 jobs in February. That's still a loss, but a far cry from the hundreds of thousands a month reported during the worst of the recession.

– In addition, the administration's economic stimulus bill tried to keep laid-off workers covered by subsidizing insurance payments under the COBRA program, which allows the unemployed to stay on their company's health plan by paying the company's full share. A December report by the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund found that roughly twice as many laid-off workers were enrolling in COBRA than before the subsidies were passed.

Bottom line: The figure Sebelius cited was based on the rapid growth of unemployment at the depths of the recent recession and is most likely out of date. In addition, the administration's own efforts may have helped cut into the numbers of newly uninsured.

soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. S Callahan

    Perhaps their news leak came out two months too soon......just sayin'

    March 7, 2010 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  2. Jake

    If the Moron,Obamadoodle, would work on jobs instead of his self centered egotistical healthcare ,alot of the insurance problem would heal itself with jobs carrying insurance.

    March 7, 2010 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  3. Stallion

    What a crock! There are many things that this administration could do at this point. Passing a healthcare bill that creates an even bigger problem should not be one of them. More propaganda from the party that does not want "what really works" for America.

    March 7, 2010 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  4. GI Joe

    I personally have friends who are still employed but had to drop insurance when rates went up AGAIN by 20 or 30% (depending on who they worked for). Lots of folks can't afford health care costs and food and clothes, and all the other things necessary to raise families these days.

    March 7, 2010 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  5. MatthewDetroit

    The Woman Is A LIAR.

    I watched both shows this morning and they asked her the SAME exact question 4 times....
    She refused to answer it.

    The fact is this. They collect money for 10 years and spend it over 6 years. The Accounting they are using does NOT make sense.
    They cut 500 million out of medicare but add 1 trillion in new spending to a new entitlement. They raise taxes 500 billion.

    HER OWN WORDS " they will force people out of the cadillac plans by taxing those same plans". She said those plans can NOT be allowed because they are unfair.

    FACT. OUR system in America works. IT is NOT perfect but it works.
    We have the BEST health care in the world and that is a fact.

    OBAMA LIED.
    He said he was going to work on jobs and the ecnomy.
    INSTEAD he went back right onto healthcare.
    HE IS A LIAR.

    WE CAN NOT AFFORD IT. CUT THE SPENDING NOW.

    March 7, 2010 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  6. ib

    Obama and his people will say anything; do anything to pass his far left agenda. They are a bunch of liers and pathetic period. Wake up people and look at what he is trying to do and so many people are fooled or will not open their eyes long enough to see what is going on.

    March 7, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  7. Andy

    The POTUS has spent 862 BILLION on jobs and NOTHING,absolutely NOTHING and he still works on a healthcare bill people do not want. HE IS SO OUT OF TOUCH,can we impeach this clown?

    March 7, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  8. Four and The Door

    This administration has no credibility and no shame. It just keeps putting out whatever suits the moment.

    March 7, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  9. Ruth

    Only in America can crooked politicians rule health care. Wake up America. Call your congressman and DEMAND health care reform before it's too late.

    March 7, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  10. Albo58

    Sebelius has been wrong about 10,000 times in-a-row on everything she has ever said over the last year so I'm pretty much resigned to 10,001!

    March 7, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  11. Jackalope

    CNN's estimate doesn't account for the hundreds of thousands of people who are dropping their insurance coverage because they can no longer afford it due to dwindling savings and skyrocketing costs of monthly premiums.

    March 7, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  12. JF

    As long as the healthcare bill is going the way it is, these people will be forced to have the insurance they got priced out of without any positive changes.

    March 7, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  13. Bev

    Oh for pity sake. Another bureaucrat who spends way too much time using scare tactics instead of just saying it like it is. Heath care in the U.S. is a run away horse. It is way past time to do something to reform the system. I have health care – one of those self-employed who is paying dearly for it – with a very high deductible – so essentially I really only have catastrophic health care. I work very hard, as does my husband. But we sure can't walk into an emergency room and get free coverage. Why not? Because we work hard and thus don't qualify for Medicaid, and yet struggle to pay for health insurance. The poor get coverage. The wealthy, government employees, and union workers sure get health care. And, those of us who are self-employed, the small business owners – well, we get the shaft.

    March 7, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  14. Paul Illinois

    there is a significant number of employed people who lose their health care benefits every week due to premium increases (ours is going up 15-20% again this year) and/or employer cutbacks of the employers contribution to the premiums thereby making coverage unaffordable for the employee; or reclassification of what employees are eligible to be covered thereby reducing the number of covered employees and of course employers who have to drop health benefits due to the cost. These numbers are piling up each day and each week and don't go away or get reduced as unemployment reaches a plateau or even decreases.

    March 7, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  15. JLM

    Whether it's 15k or not the GOP doesn't care, let them eat cake.

    March 7, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  16. Truth Still Matters

    I'm with Pres. Obama and the Dems in opposing the use of reconciliation to pass health care reform.

    March 7, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  17. Rasaq Seriki

    No distance covered no work done, I dislike seeing Congress doing nothing is like the whole World is in mess maybe because i'm being biased on issues concerning America now i'm trying to teach myself how to cope whenever they chose to mute. Like my Mom use to says "Good things are very difficult to accomplish". moreover the urine would only foaming if will urinate in one spot, my belief is that hope is not lost regarding this Bill is something that worth fight for and the glory or credit will go to all our leaders.

    March 7, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  18. LoveThyNeighbor

    "Insurance" is NOT an entitlement. "Health care" should be. There IS a difference." Insurance" is usually available through your place of employment or, by purchasing it. "Health care" depends on the QUALITY of life one gets from people who take the oath. The "insurance companies" are SUPPOSE to pay for the routine(s) performed by Doctors. When YOU pay to the insurance company, THEY are in charge of telling YOU what can and cannot be done at what price. "Health Care" is having EMPATHY on your fellow human being hoping that one may make things right and that individual has some sort of life functioning well. In other words, right now the insurance company looks upon you to be making THEM a profit. Empathy goes along with "Health Care" because it is "caring" for another with dignity. The insurance companies and politicians are only padding THEIR future! So, when you hear people in political situations hollering about "Health Care" for the American people, need/don't need, want/don't want...just remember, THEY do not have your typical insurance. Their's is paid for by YOU, the tax payer. Why,...? do they not want US to have the same thing!? IT'S Because THEY don't care. Plain & simple...Sam

    March 7, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  19. Marie MD

    I don't know about 15k a day, but where I work about 100 people were fired just this past month. Start counting.

    March 7, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  20. Stop the Obama tyranny!

    A government mandate that all citizens purchase insurance - and then makes them criminals if they do not - is tyranny. It stands against everything we believe in. Stop this tyranny NOW!

    March 7, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  21. Terry from D.C.

    people are losing their health care because they are losing their jobs! WORK ON JOBS AND PEOPLE WILL BE EMPLOYED AND GET THEIR EMPLOYER BASED INSURANCE BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WE DO NOT BELEIVE THIS ADMINISTRATION ANY MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 7, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  22. Ginaandfriends

    That sucks for all those families. The insurance companies should be held accountable. They can drop you at any time. Even if you pay on time. More regulation is needed. Any pre existing clause should be illegal.

    March 7, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  23. Ginaandfriends

    Please fact check the republicans. They make things up all the time.

    March 7, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  24. Johnny DC

    What an astronomically false lie propagated by the person appointed to the most influential health policy position in our government.

    To imply that 15,000 people per day are going to continue losing healthcare if we don't enact this legislation immediately is grossly irresponsible on the Secretary's part.

    March 7, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  25. terry,va.

    The reason why people are losing health care coverage is because people are losing their jobs. Let me put it to where idiot Obummie can understand....JOBS, JOBS, JOBS...everything else is secondary. Lose your job, lose health care. Much more coverage is being lost due to this reason. What idiots Obummie and his circle of fools are.

    March 7, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
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