Three of the state-run Obamacare exchange websites are in dire trouble and the Republicans are launching investigation – an aggressive stand that is not sitting well with Democrat lawmakers.
The websites include Oregon, Maryland, and Massachusetts. Severe functional failures and staggering costs have been dumped into the taxpayer’s lap, The Hill reports.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican members wrote to the Government Accountability Office strongly demanding an investigation into the $304 million in federal grants Oregon received to fund its exchange.
Not one person has yet to be enrolled online.
The fiscal nightmare has been taken up by Oregon Rep. Greg Walden who wrote, "The catastrophic breakdown of Cover Oregon is unacceptable, and taxpayers deserve accountability."
The liberal Democratic Governor of Oregon, John Kitzhaber , an ardent Obama supporter, feels the state is making “progress” signing up citizens for the federal healthcare program.
He say, "Congress will do what Congress will do just so long as it does not slow down the process of getting Oregonians healthcare, The Hill reported. “Already more than 225,000 Oregonians have enrolled in quality, affordable coverage, including more than 35,000 in private insurance plans."
Kitzhaber's office blames the problems as "using large parts of the technology it purchased to calculate what people are eligible for, help them get access to financial assistance, and service their accounts."
Oregon’s growing technology empire has been called “Silicon Forest.” No word of any technological support being requested from them.
Meanwhile, Maryland's healthcare exchange is hanging on by a thread. For months, state officials have been debating whether to abandon the state-run portal and adopt HealthCare.gov.
Republicans want a federal investigation to be conducted.
Local Maryland politicians accuse state lawmakers and administration officials of ignoring warnings from appointed auditors who warned the website was not going to function properly and not ready.
Instead, through political pressure emanating from the White House, the website was switched on and the failure has now amounted to millions of taxpayer dollars, similar to the Oregon fiasco.
The lawmakers also asked the agency to determine whether federal funds might be recouped on the project, The Hill reports.
Maryland Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley had no comment and did not return calls from The Hill.
Finally there is Massachusetts' healthcare exchange and the inept official running their program. They too are plagued by technical problems. It currently has the worst enrollment percentage in the country, The Hill reports.
The Boston Globe has done extensive reporting on the roll out catastrophe and reported Thursday that the state's exchange director, Jean Yang, was actually in tears during a recent board meeting discussing the many problems the agency faces.
Yang said, "We have to work harder. That means I need to tell the staff members they're not doing a good enough job and I'm telling them that, even though they have been doing this tirelessly for months, and they're exhausted."
No comment from the White House concerning the three states.
* 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