Senators Hatch, Grassley, And Barrasso Question Administration On Failed Obamacare Exchanges

Dean Chambers

Three senators have sent a letter to the Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on the failed state-based exchanges (SBE) under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Charles Grassley (R-IA), and John Barrasso (R-WY) are seeking information on CMS regarding more than $1 billion in federal funds spent on the state health care exchanges set up under Obamacare.

“We are writing to inquire about the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) position on taxpayer dollars used to implement state-based exchanges (SBE) under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The Administration allocated over $1 billion in federal greats to SBE websites, and did so without exercising adequate oversight of SBE use of those funds. Instances of mismanagement or economic unsustainability, and a general lack of usability have cause a number of states to abandon their earlier efforts, with some option to join the HealthCare.gov federal exchange. The failure of these SBEs to use federal grant money effectively has led to the waste of more than a billion in taxpayer dollars,” the senators stated in the letter.

In the letter, the senators asked about five issues regarding the federal money spent on state exchanges. The three senators asked if the states would receive any funds recouped from the failed exchanges, or would all the money from recouped SBE grants go back to the federal government. Additionally, will CMS take actions to recoup money from states that abandoned their SBE to adopt the federal exchange? The letter by the senators also asked if CMS is going to conduct cost/benefit analysis to determine the most cost-effective way to address failed states exchanges. The senators also asked if CMS will take steps to increase the transparency of the CSM contractor allocation systems in the future. The letter and these questions were sent to the Acting Administrator of CMS, Andrew M. Slavitt, on August 3, 2015.

Senators have been seeking to recoup federal funds spent on failed Obamacare state exchanges since last year, Modern Healthcare reported. The same three senators sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell about whether the agency will seek to recoup federal funds spent on the state exchanges.

“In a letter issued Tuesday by Senators Orin Hatch and Chuck Grassley to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell, the lawmakers wrote that they are concerned “specifically with regard to the risk of conflicts of interest between the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and United Health Group, its subsidies and its employees,” the Daily Caller reported earlier this year.

“With the complete failure of the Oregon Obamacare exchange, and nearly $300 million in taxpayer money missing on the project, there are serious questions under investigation. Kitzhaber and his advisors that where the architects of this disaster should be held accountable, and the taxpayers who funded this mess, deserve answers,” the Inquisitr reported.

[Photo of Senator Orrin Hatch from Getty Images]