The State Obamacare Exchanges: Failing at a Half-Billion Dollars and Climbing

For this year and the end of last the media has served up a narrative that the problem with the Obamacare exchanges comes from all those states that refused to participate, forcing the Federal Government to build their exchanges. Of course, this is a way of blaming Republicans for the horrible technological black hole that occurred when the exchanges began “operating”—if one can call it that.

But the real blowup is coming from states that embraced the Affordable Care Act and built their own exchanges.

From Politico.com:

Nearly half a billion dollars in federal money has been spent developing four state Obamacare exchanges that are now in shambles — and the final price tag for salvaging them may go sharply higher.

Each of the states — Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada and Maryland — embraced Obamacare, and each underperformed. All have come under scathing criticism and now face months of uncertainty as they rush to rebuild their systems or transition to the federal exchange.

The federal government is caught between writing still more exorbitant checks to give them a second chance at creating viable exchanges of their own or, for a lesser although not inexpensive sum, adding still more states to HealthCare.gov. The federal system is already serving 36 states, far more than originally anticipated.

The politicians in each state are blaming the different venders. I have no idea where the blame actually lies. If different venders are failing to construct health exchanges, when they have a record of successfully completing projects, that would indicate to me that there may be something genuinely difficult about the health exchanges (though I have no idea what it would be).

There are many mysteries here. Like: Did the contractors not foresee how difficult it would be to make a functioning exchange? Why would a company take a contract they couldn’t complete?

And the problems are in more than just those four states!

The $474 million spent by these four states includes the cost that officials have publicly detailed to date. It climbs further if states like Minnesota and Hawaii, which have suffered similarly dysfunctional exchanges, are added.

Nothing in the story indicates that Congress is being approached to budget extra funds. But how can the Executive Branch authorize funding without Congress? Or does the Affordable Care Act give the healthcare bureaucracy unlimited spending authority to use as needed?

It should be obvious to everyone that Obamacare needs to be immediately defunded and repealed.