In a country where $17.5 trillion dollar deficits don’t raise an eye, perhaps Obamacare exchanges that cost four states nearly a half-billion dollars in federal money no big deal with administration the American people have got.
That was the word Sunday. Should more be spent to build their own state Obamacare exchanges or collect even more federal dollars is the question according to Politico.
At present, the federal system provides for 36 states. That is billions more than ever expected (surprised?). Then there are state exchanges that define the word “mess.” They include Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada and Maryland - all considered failures.
The government now picks up their tab writing them checks to give them a second chance, or dump them in the federal website to handle Obamacare plans.
Those “notorious four” have already used $474 million to build their own healthcare exchanges. The massive deficit will rise even higher with the news Minnesota and Hawaii are about to wave the white flag.
Unbelievably, The Kaiser Family Foundation has estimated the federal government has actually approved $4.698 billion since 2011 for states to create their own exchanges. It is as if the federal government is using other people’s money to burn. Oops, they are.
Oregon is the best example of total incompetence. The state health care exchange has been cursed with continual glitches (including the people running it) since it opened last Oct. 1. In April, the “Cover Oregon” board decided to heap their failure onto the federal government after going through four head administrators. By that time, $303 million had been spent.
Oregon's online system never went live. “Cover Oregon” and the site's vendor that built it, Oracle Corp., have been unable to work out all the glitches. Paper processing alone has cost the state government $7 million, in addition to $134 million in federal funding paid to Oracle. Final number of enrollees? Zero.
Massachusetts isn’t much different. Officials want to build a new site from scratch while using the federal exchange as a backup. Politico reports it would cost more than $120 million, added to the $170 million that has already been awarded.
Nevada has already spent $51 million out of the $90 million in would be extremely difficult to salvage the state site's flaws. Their own Senator Harry Reid blames Xerox for the errors. That sounds about right coming from the Pa Kettle look-a-like.
Maryland officials knew early the website was a mess. The Maryland Health Connection was allocated $170 million like it was ice cream money. They later announced they would not be able to launch, reports the Washington Post.
State exchange problems will indeed continue to cause political headaches issues. But if you ask politicians used to squandering billions in taxpayer money like the Queen of Obamacare, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, they are far too busy warding off another Benghazi investigation calling the murder of four Americans a done deal that has been thoroughly investigated.
Where is the national anger over the billions wasted? The Republican National Committee has filed public-records requests in Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Oregon seeking information about compensation and vacation time for the state exchange directors, many of whom have resigned, reports The New York Times.
No one actually thought any Democrats had the guts to do this, did they? Five states have Democratic governors whose terms end this year, and three of the state leaders, Gov. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota, and Gov. John Kitzhaber of Oregon have launched re-election bids. In Nevada, the only state with a Republican leader to build its own exchange, Gov. Brian Sandoval is also seeking reelection.
Again the question becomes, when will Americans say enough is enough with their hard-earned money?
* If you have enjoyed this column, may I suggest you scroll down this page and press the SUBSCRIBE box? It's FREE. Thank you for your patronage.
** Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org