They Wasted $3.7 Billion On Obamacare Websites That Don’t Work, And Nobody Can Find The Money

So says The Hill

The Obama administration has spent at least $3.7 billion to build and promote online marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act, but it can’t prove exactly where it all went, according to an audit released Monday.

Federal investigators said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) does not properly track certain data that public officials need in order to determine whether the healthcare law is working.

The government tracks its healthcare spending in an outdated records system that cannot easily respond to data requests such as salaries or public relations contracts in certain departments. Instead, officials rely on manually prepared spreadsheets that can take months to produce.

Out of that data, “we were not able to determine the reliability of most of the information,” according to the report by the independent Government Accountability Office (GAO).

There’s a dynamic at work here, which is that an American public which is capable of ordering steel from China, or instantly downloading and reading Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, or summoning a ride in a Lexus SUV within minutes, simply isn’t going to have a great deal of patience with a persistently, and in fact increasingly, incompetent federal government.

And Obamacare, more than anything else, has made it clear what a disaster it is to get an Industrial Age bureaucracy to perform to Information Age standards.

Meaning that while this shows the incredible incompetence of the Obama administration, and the overwhelming disaster of the president’s healthcare reform – it turns out there are 700,000 less Obamacare customers now than there were a year ago, which means that the economics of Obamacare simply aren’t going to work – is the most significant policy development in the past decade, it’s bigger than Obama.

The fact is that the federal government can’t serve the public by any meaningful standard it expects.

Had the Obama administration been smart, they would have set up a system of prizes for private-sector entities to build competing exchanges for health insurance purchases, and let that competition drive coverage of the public – then come up with a separate mechanism to kick subsidies in rather than forcing people to pour their entire life story out before getting to buy insurance. Instead, they created an unworkable website which isn’t customer-friendly even by the standard of 10 years ago, forced insurers to cover things which the public isn’t interested in.

Everything about this is a square peg in a round hole. It’s a rolling mess and it’s going to collapse under its own weight.

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