The Federal and state exchanges were given billions of dollars, but we have little idea where the Obamacare money went.
We know that the state exchanges are doing so badly that they are looking at merging with one another or even with healthcare.gov. And we know that merely four state exchanges consumed a half billion dollars. This week’s news is that billions in Obamacare money was spent, allegedly for these exchanges, but we don’t know where the money went.
Peter Suderman writes at Reason.com’s Hit & Run blog, “Government Watchdog: Billions in Funding for Obamacare’s Exchanges Not Tracked Well, Many Functions Remain Incomplete.”
The part about functions still not working properly is not exactly news, though it is nice to see the GAO acknowledge the problem. But the missing money is much more interesting.
The federal government spent billions on creating Obamacare’s exchanges, but didn’t track the money well—and many of the state-run exchanges funded under the law still aren’t working properly, according to a draft Government Accountability Office report obtained by reason.
Most states running their own exchanges under the law have yet to complete work on some critical exchange functionality, such as verifying eligibility for subsidies, paying insurers, and reporting data to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The report, still in draft form and dated July 2015, says that several states “lacked comprehensive and detailed information to show how their marketplace grant funding had been used for IT projects supporting their marketplaces” between September 2010 and March 2015. Neither select states examined by the GAO nor the federal government tracked how much of $2.78 billion in Medicaid matching funds were used to fund exchange operations or development. (The law required states to connect Medicaid programs, which are run by states and jointly funded by states and the federal government, to a federal data hub.)
The uncertainty exists because Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) did not require states to track spending on specific product categories, nor to report on how Medicaid matching funds were used. As a result of the lack of reporting requirements for Medicaid, the report charges that CMS, which oversaw the exchange development process, “is not in a position to account for all federal funds that went toward the establishment and support of marketplace [health insurance exchange] IT systems.”
So where did all this Obamacare money go? Who were the contractors who received the money—assuming it all went to legitimate contractors. Were they donors to Democrats and the Democrat Party?
You can respond that I’m just speculating, but the whole reason for requiring records to be kept is to make sure that kind of thing doesn’t happen. As far as we know, the missing Obamacare money represents not incompetence but outright corruption.