WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.), the Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, today delivered his weekly “Waste of the Week” speech and highlighted $1.16 billion spent on failed Obamacare state exchanges.
Coats said the Affordable Care Act directed states to either develop their own state-based exchange to operate Obamacare or defer to the federal exchange, accessible at HealthCare.gov.
To try to get more states to create their own exchanges, the Obama Administration awarded billions of dollars in federal grants to states to construct their own state exchanges.
“In six of the fourteen states that chose to develop their own exchanges and received these federal grants – Maryland, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon, New Mexico and Nevada – the end results were disastrous,” said Coats. “The non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that these state exchanges were given the green light without the entirety of the systems ever being tested.”
Coats said the Maryland exchange website had more than 600 unresolved defects, and Massachusetts had over 1,100 unresolved defects. Yet, these exchanges were given the go-ahead by the Obama Administration. In Oregon, a state exchange was set up by political operatives, and months after the enrollment period began, the online Oregon exchange couldn’t enroll a single person and applicants had to fax in their hand-written materials.
“Oregon’s abysmal failure cost taxpayers $305 million plus an additional $41 million that had to be spent to bring Oregon on to the federal exchange,” said Coats. “All totaled, the federal government gave these six states $1.16 billion, and today none of these six states are independently operating their own individual exchange.”
Coats said the failure of these states exchanges was a long time in the making.
“The non-partisan GAO and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services raised concerns about these state exchanges more than a year before they were scheduled to launch,” said Coats. “But in a rush by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to operationalize state exchanges before the first open enrollment period, HHS ignored these warnings and as a result, over a billion taxpayer dollars were wasted.”
To watch this week’s installment of Waste of the Week click here.