Half a billion for 4 failed Obamacare state exchanges

Editor Lifson detailed the trouble with Hawaii's exchange earlier. But in order to get a clear picture of the monumental waste in just 4 state exchanges - and the prospect of even more tax dollars thrown away -- Politico has some astonishing numbers:

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 either 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.

As for the contractors involved, which have borne most of the blame for the exchange debacles, a few continue to insist that fixes are possible. Others are braced for possible legal action or waiting to hear if now-tainted contracts will be terminated.

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 in.

Their totals are just a fraction of the $4.698 billion that the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation calculates the federal government has approved for states since 2011 to help them determine whether to create their own exchanges and to assist in doing so. Still, the amount of money that now appears wasted is prompting calls for far greater accountability.

Where has that funding left the four most troubled states?

Nevada, for one, is still trying to figure out its future. Oregon has decided to switch to HealthCare.gov. Maryland wants to fix its own exchange, maybe by incorporating what worked in Connecticut. Massachusetts actually wants to do both – build a new portal from scratch while planning a move to the federal exchange as a backup.

Who's going to pay us back? States should be held accountable for their incompetence - especially since federal dollars were involved. If the people in those states don't like it, they can always show their displeasure at the ballot box. That's what it's there for.

The only thing certain is that the number of states who will have indpendent Obamacare exchanges will go down and the cost of fixing the sites will go up.

 

Editor Lifson detailed the trouble with Hawaii's exchange earlier. But in order to get a clear picture of the monumental waste in just 4 state exchanges - and the prospect of even more tax dollars thrown away -- Politico has some astonishing numbers:

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 either 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.

As for the contractors involved, which have borne most of the blame for the exchange debacles, a few continue to insist that fixes are possible. Others are braced for possible legal action or waiting to hear if now-tainted contracts will be terminated.

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 in.

Their totals are just a fraction of the $4.698 billion that the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation calculates the federal government has approved for states since 2011 to help them determine whether to create their own exchanges and to assist in doing so. Still, the amount of money that now appears wasted is prompting calls for far greater accountability.

Where has that funding left the four most troubled states?

Nevada, for one, is still trying to figure out its future. Oregon has decided to switch to HealthCare.gov. Maryland wants to fix its own exchange, maybe by incorporating what worked in Connecticut. Massachusetts actually wants to do both – build a new portal from scratch while planning a move to the federal exchange as a backup.

Who's going to pay us back? States should be held accountable for their incompetence - especially since federal dollars were involved. If the people in those states don't like it, they can always show their displeasure at the ballot box. That's what it's there for.

The only thing certain is that the number of states who will have indpendent Obamacare exchanges will go down and the cost of fixing the sites will go up.

 

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