According to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, the Obama administration has dumped approximately $840 million into Healthcare.gov, the government’s go-to website for Obamacare. This figure includes more than $150 million in unplanned overruns due to the badly botched initial rollout in 2013. These overruns, according to the GAO, went right along with the crucial failure in management that created the failed launch to begin with.
Not only that, but the GAO report specifies that similar spending problems could occur in the future if the government doesn’t make some serious changes to the way it manages contracts and spending.
A summary of the highlights from National Journal pointed out many of the GAO’s most shocking findings:
When the process began in 2011, CMS obligated $56 million for the federally run exchanges, including HealthCare.gov. Those costs swelled to $209 million.
Costs for the federal data hub, which coordinates records and personal information from several state and federal agencies to help the exchanges process applications, rose from $30 million to $80 million.
CMS has paid $12.5 million to CGI Federal, the primary contractor for the site. CMS officials had problems with CGI’s work throughout the process, but the agency only withheld about 2 percent of its payments to the company.
CMS fired CGI in January and signed a new contract with Accenture. That contract has also seen major cost overruns—from an initial obligation of $95 million to more than $175 million.
Because CMS’s oversight of the contract with CGI was so poor, CMS officials inappropriately authorized more than $30 million in expenditures. GAO found 40 separate occasions on which work was approved incorrectly.
Putting aside the fact that the bill should have died a long time ago – well before any of these expenses were racked up – this type of government waste is exactly what causes financial conservatives to despair. Of course, the botched rollout of the ACA is only one of many examples of the federal government throwing taxpayer dollars out the window without the slightest care. While the Senate can’t agree to send a relatively paltry $250 million to Israel to bolster their much needed Iron Dome defense system, the following earmarks have no trouble getting filled:
- $76 million spent annually rounding up wild horses that roam public lands.
- $11 million spent flying the Department of Justice around on private jets, presumably to engage in such important investigations as the “racist” float in the middle of the country.
- Making movies – 1.5 million dollars a year is spent running the FBI’s Investigative Publicity and Public Affairs Unit, a department designed to help Hollywood make movies like Fast and Furious 4.
- Almost $1 million to fund Project Romance, a project designed to explore popular romance throughout the ages, including such timeless classics as Twilight and Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe.”
Compared to these ridiculous expenditures, $150 million in overruns for a national healthcare program may not seem so bad after all. Then again, Project Romance isn’t going to cause the loss of more than 2 million jobs over the next decade, so there’s that.