The disaster that is the Obamacare website continues to be a black hole for government funds. Despite already spending over $700 million on the site, The Health and Human Services Department is now requesting an additional $1.8 billion to simply maintain the exchange it operates on behalf of about three dozen states. The exchange is a web portal where consumers without health coverage can compare and purchase plans, often with the help of government subsidies.
Roughly 65 percent of this funding will come from fees related to Obamacare, while department officials will ask Congress to cover the remaining 35 percent. In exchange, the agency promised to fix the software glitches and capacity issues that wrecked the HealthCare.gov site before the next round of open enrollments begins on Nov. 15.
About $1.2 billion of the funding will come from fees tied to Obamacare, while $600 million will be sought from Congress, officials said in HHS-specific comments about Mr. Obama’s new budget proposal. “If Congress funds the president’s budget … this would fully fund the ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said the agency will work on “improving the consumer experience” and developing a “more consumer friendly application, one that’s a little easier to navigate.”
Last January, White House officials fired the contractor responsible for disastrous Obamacare site. The administration has terminated its relationship with CGI Federal and signed a one-year, $90 million agreement with Accenture.
Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, testified before Congress last November that as much as 40 percent of the site had yet to be even built. He said that “we still have to build the financial management aspects of the system, which includes our accounting system and payment system and reconciliation system.”