White House slams attempt to reverse Census change


The Obama administration is slamming Republicans' effort to prevent a controversial shift in how the government measures who has health insurance just as ObamaCare takes full effect.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) criticized language in a House GOP spending bill that would require the Census Bureau to abandon its overhaul of the health insurance questions and return to an older system.

"The administration strongly objects to language in the bill … requiring that the data collection for the Current Population Survey use outdated health insurance questions included in previous years," the OMB said in a statement.

"The revised questions will allow the Census Bureau to better measure the uninsured, while reverting back to the previous questions will create a gap in the data and severely limit its statistical value."

The GOP has charged that the administration chose to change its health insurance questions in an attempt to disguise the healthcare law's impact on the numbers.

The shift creates a "break in trend," preventing researchers from comparing the survey's rate of health insurance before the start of ObamaCare to the years after the launch.

The administration said the change was motivated by flaws in the survey, when respondents would report whether they had insurance at the time they were contacted rather than in the previous year, as the old survey directed.

It is unclear whether the GOP's attempt to block the shift will succeed.

The Commerce Department spending bill that includes the language is expected to pass the House on Wednesday. It is possible, but not guaranteed, that the provision would survive a conference committee with the Senate.