Where Did Obamacare’s $3.7 Billion Go? No One Knows

September 26, 2014 7:46 amViews: 373

Obamacare missing money

Everyone knows by now that the implementation of President Barack Obama's signature legislation, colloquially known as Obamacare, has been less than stellar. The initial rollout was a disaster, with an unstable website that frequently crashed and succumbed to excessive load as masses of people tried to sign up, which resulted in only the sickest (and therefore most determined) applicants waiting out and ultimately completing the process for a new healthcare system that relied on wide participation by the healthy. But all of that is in the past, right?

The media would certainly have you think so, with their emphasis on the progress that has been made since then, from improvements to the website to millions of American successfully enrolling – including, yes, ample numbers of the young. Things are just going swimmingly, now.

Except that we don't actually know where the money allocated to Obamacare is in fact, going.

According to the independent Government Accountability Office (GAO), the government has spent some 3.7 billion dollars to build and promote online marketplaces for the new healthcare law, but we can't be quite sure exactly where it all went. That's 3.7 billion. With a B.

According to federal investigators conducting the audit, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) keeps its financial records so poorly and in so outdated a fashion, that “we were not able to determine the reliability of most of the information,” said the GAO. This is because CMS's processes are inconsistent with certain federal accounting and internal control standards.

One particularly troubled area was the CMS' Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, which works mostly with state governments. According to the GAO, that agency was unable to verify important information such as its total costs of staff salaries, travel, polling or total advertising spent on ObamaCare. In some cases, officials respond to requests for financial information with manually prepared spreadsheets that can take months to prepare.

It staggers the imagination that President Obama, and those working with him on the implementation of the new healthcare law, did not foresee the size and scope of the bureaucratic nightmare that awaited them and that they failed to take precautions against them. There is enough about Obamacare to which one might object – on moral as well as legal grounds – without having to worry that the system itself is a house of cards waiting for the next gust of wind. We have moved questioning the wisdom of a controversial but at least well thought-out overhaul of American healthcare. It appears as if the very plan behind it was shoddy.

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