Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt says it is an outrage if whistleblower charges are true that an Obamacare contractor is paying employees to do nothing.
TV Station KMOV in St. Louis
reports that at least two whistleblowers say that Serco, a British-based company contracted to process most Affordable Care Act claims, is advertising for more workers even though the ones already on the payroll are hardly doing any work.
"Their goals are to process two applications per month, and some people are not even able to do that," one whistleblower told the station.
Serco has a $1.2 billion contract to help sign people up for Obamacare, but according to whistleblower charges, the company is reimbursed by the federal government based on the number of employees it has, not on the amount of work it does.
There is a lack of work in processing centers in Missiouri, Kentucky and Oklahoma, KMOV reports.
Employees were told to sit at their desks and hit their refresh screen no more than once every 10 minutes to see if a new application had come in, the original whistleblower said. Another said employees basically talked to co-workers all day, but were reprimanded if they got too loud.
Another told KMOV she was paid to play Pictionary all day.
Serco referred the station's questions to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, which told the station that it works to ensure federal funds are spent appropriately and that it periodically reviews how many workers are there.
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But the CMS would not answer a direct question about whether Serco is paid per employee, said Chris Nagus, a KMOV investigative reporter.
Blunt told Fox News Channel that he and Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, the leading Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, have asked the Department of Health and Human Services about the claims.
"It could be part of that whole philosophy that the more people the government pays, somehow the better the economy is, and that's just not the way the economy works," Blunt said.
"If it's anything like what the whistleblowers suggest, it's terrible. If it's exactly what the whistleblowers suggest, it's an absolute outrage for every taxpayer in America."
The allegations aren't the first against Serco.
In October 2013, Jillian Melchior, an investigative reporter at National Review, told Newsmax TV that the company was being investigated for possibly over-billing the British government as well as falsifying performance records.
"They run a detention center for immigrants in Britain and . . . several women have come out saying they were sexually assaulted, sexually coerced, at this center run by Serco," Melchior told Newsmax. "That's a lot of red flags."
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