Obama math wiz predicts insurance enrollment data to promote ACA

The Affordable Care Act has proved to be a battleground issue similar to that of an election.

One 31-year-old math wiz, Matt Saniie, who worked on the Obama reelection campaign, has gone from tracking likely voters to building a statistical model to predict--with 99 percent accuracy--whether someone has health insurance, according to an article in Bloomberg.

In an effort by Enroll America, an independent advocacy group pushing the health plan, Obama's backers are adopting the techniques of his election wins--including data analysis, investing in personal canvassing and social media--hoping they can engage young Americans like they've done before.

Enroll America has field organizers in 10 groups campaigning for the ACA.

"The Obama people are not stupid: They know how to campaign and who to go after," Uwe Reinhardt, a health-economics professor at Princeton University, told Bloomberg. "There are enough young people with pretty low incomes that for them, this is a pretty good bargain."

The campaign this time is to get to 2.7 million people signed up for health insurance. The article explains that Saniie's model scores the probability that anyone is covered by insurance on a zero to 100 percent scale. Saniie spent four months refining the model, based on 32 items of information from consumer databases, from income level to military status and voting in midterm elections. He found that veterans and midterm voters likely have health insurance already.

The model's first test proved effective during in a week long campaign in June that involved telephone and face-to-face conversations with thousands of households. "It predicted within a percent of what we expected," Saniie told Bloomberg.

ACA implementation is not without its hiccups. Testing for the controversial data hub that will connect state health insurance exchanges with federal agencies is behind schedule, according to a recent report from the Office of Inspector General. CMS officials, in follow-up comments to the OIG, expressed confidence that the hub will be secure.

To learn more:
- read the Bloomberg article

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