Tags: Healthcare Reform | obamacare | report | website | costs

GAO Report Questions How Obamacare Billions Were Spent

By    |   Tuesday, 23 September 2014 07:17 PM

A new report claims an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services is unable to show how it spent $3.7 billion for constructing and promoting Obamacare's online marketplace.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) dug into the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) finances and concluded it spent a hefty sum during the fiscal year 2014. But neither the GAO or CMS could prove where exactly the money was spent.

"GAO could not determine the reliability of any of the other financial information CMS provided because CMS's core financial system did not produce totals for much of the CCIIO-related information requested," the report states.

"For example, the system did not produce expenditure totals for CCIIO-related polling, focus groups, or advertising and other public relations activities because of how these activities are captured in the system. Similarly, information related to reassignment of staff to CCIIO from other CMS and HHS units was not readily available.

"Consequently, the staff reassignment information provided to GAO was not complete, was not supported by documentary evidence, and could not be verified."

The CCIIO, short for Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight, is tasked with overseeing "the implementation of the provisions related to private health insurance…. CIIO is working with states to establish new Health Insurance Marketplaces," according to its website.

The review found that several of the financial reporting procedures the department uses are time-consuming, manual processes. In fact, the report states it took "several months" for the department to turn in some of the data.

The GAO also reports the department claimed some of the data had been internally reviewed, but it could not provide proof.

"Because CMS's processes are inconsistent with certain federal accounting and internal control standards, Congress and other decision makers may not have access to timely and reliable CCIIO-related information that they may need to make resource allocation decisions and assessments of program performance," the report reads.

The GAO recommended that the department institute policies and procedures to improve financial reporting, but HHS did not agree.

"HHS did not concur with GAO's recommendations," the report reads. "In its view, CMS's existing procedures are adequate to respond to nonroutine information requests. However, as discussed in this report, GAO continues to believe that enhancements to CMS's procedures are needed and that the recommendations are valid."

The report comes one day after the American Action Forum claimed up to 2 million adults and children could be left without insurance due to a glitch in the Obamacare system. And the problem could get even worse.

"An additional 2.28 million children could fall into this glitch when the Children’s Health Insurance Program funding expires or if it is altered," the American Action Forum report reads.

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A new report claims an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services is unable to show how it spent $3.7 billion for constructing and promoting Obamacare's online marketplace.
obamacare, report, website, costs
Tuesday, 23 September 2014 07:17 PM
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