Study: Healthcare.Gov Costs Top $2B
The finding by a Bloomberg Government analysis exceeds the cost estimates provided by the Obama administration. Meanwhile, an administration official says efforts are "continuing, step by step" to improve the health insurance website, but also steers clear of specific pledges.
Bloomberg: Obamacare Website Costs Exceed $2B, Study Finds
The federal government’s Obamacare enrollment system has cost about $2.1 billion so far, according to a Bloomberg Government analysis of contracts related to the project. Spending for healthcare.gov and related programs, including at the Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies, exceeds cost estimates provided by the Obama administration, the analysis found. The government’s most recent estimate, limited to spending on computer systems by the agency that runs the site, through February, is $834 million. Healthcare.gov and its associated programs are the main portal for millions of Americans to sign up for coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare. Spending for the system has been a matter of dispute between the administration and Republican opponents in Congress, who have tried to block funding for the law (Wayne, 9/24).
The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Burwell Steers Clear Of Specific Pledges On HealthCare.Gov
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell told reporters Wednesday that officials are “continuing, step by step” in their effort to get HealthCare.gov ready to open for its second year of business in 50 days’ time but steered clear of specific commitments that have haunted officials who preceded her. In her first on-the-record question session with reporters since taking the top job at HHS, Ms. Burwell got several inquiries about whether the department’s preparations to fix and revamp the site were on schedule, and answered all of them without making the kinds of comments that people could hold against her later (Radnofsky, 9/24).
Oregonian: Cover Oregon Health Exchange Discovers New Tax Credit Problem, Number Affected Unknown
Officials at Cover Oregon have realized the number of people affected by tax credit errors is much larger than previously thought -- meaning they may owe money at tax time. Early this month, The Oregonian revealed the existence of the erroneous formula, which had to do with the tax credits used by qualified individuals to reduce their premiums. Cover Oregon first noted the formula was wrong in January, but correcting it took a back seat to fixing the exchange's technological problems, officials said (Budnick, 9/24).
And in regard to Medicaid expansion -
California Healthline: Medi-Cal Application Backlog Will Be ‘Down Significantly’ Within Six Weeks
At an Assembly Committee on Health hearing yesterday, Department of Health Care Services Director Toby Douglas said the backlog of Medi-Cal applications -- at one point in March topping 900,000 unprocessed eligibility claims -- now is down to about 250,000 applications and will be "down significantly" from that by the start of November. Douglas answered a number of concerns at the hearing, including announcing a shift in DHCS policy regarding asthma and allergy testing, as well as Denti-Cal and special-needs dental care issues (Gorn, 9/24).