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Demanded: Answers on failed state healthcare exchanges

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

Perhaps in the grand scheme of federal schemes, $1.3 billion squandered on seven problematic, even inoperative, state health insurance exchanges is chicken feed. But some members of Congress are demanding accountability — if not a thorough cleaning of the chicken coop.

In a letter from House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., House Republicans are pushing the Obama administration for the names of federal officials involved in awarding of grants for what turned out to be trouble-prone, state-run ObamaCare “marketplaces,” The Hill newspaper reports. Among the worse state health insurance exchanges, Oregon and Nevada have opted to scrap their expensive, broken systems and join the federal government's HealthCare.gov site.

“A billion dollars is a steep price to pay for incompetence,” Mr. Upton says.

Meanwhile, some Senate Republicans want states that have abandoned their websites, and have opted to use HealthCare.gov, to reimburse the federal government for what they spent on their exchanges.

But whether the federal government pumps more cash into states' failed exchanges — or states ante up for their botched systems — it's still money out of the public's pocket in the abysmal run-up to government health care.

What the public is owed is an explanation of how these exorbitant state exchanges went horribly wrong and accountability from those responsible.

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