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Where Is The Missing Money?

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

Does anyone know how much Obamacare cost each year? Does anyone know if Obamacare is the cause of America’s more than one trillion-dollar deficit each year despite the Obamacare tax increases that are supposed to pay for it ?

If someone knows they sure are not telling taxpayers. A good friend who is a liberal and a big fan of President Obama said to me he is not worried about the federal deficit. Neither is President Obama. President Obama has convinced his base that the budget deficit and America’s escalating debt is an insignificant problem.

It follows that he can spend money as he wishes and waste money with impunity. I was taught that is not the way to run a business. Especially when the waste fullness gets negative results that leads to more deficit spending.

The problem is the waste of money is reported in dribs and drabs and usually on a Friday afternoon.

We have seen that happen in the VA system. After one year and billions of dollars spent the waiting times have decreased slightly. The medical service to veterans has not improved. No one in the bureaucracy has been held responsible. Veterans have been complaining more loudly since nothing has improved.

Missing Money

The federal government awarded over $5 billion to help states set up Obamacare exchanges, with the vast majority – $4.6 billion – going to 16 states and Washington, D.C.” 

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently reported that most of the money has not been accounted for. Several of those State Health Insurance exchanges have gone out of business this year.

$1.4 billion of that has been spent on IT projects. This sounds very high for 16 different web sites. Why couldn’t everyone use the same website?

Three ($3 billion) has been “spent or drawn down.” Only some of the drawn down spending has been detailed.

At least $1.6 billion is unaccounted for. Only three states returned any portion of the money. The federal government has only received back $1 million.

It sounds like government bureaucracy inefficiency at best and fraud and abuse at worst with no one being held accountable.

Can Americans trust the government to run our healthcare system?

Where did those taxpayer dollars go?

More Missing Money

Obamacare created the co-ops to encourage State Health Insurance Exchanges to increase competition in state insurance markets.

The intent was to offer consumers choices with the hope of holding down premiums.

Co-ops were snuck into Obamacare to replace the public option. No one has spoken about this being a substitute for the “public option.” The public option is an obvious ploy to convert the healthcare system quickly to a single party payer system.

The public option was designed to compete with private insurers on the state level by offering lower premiums in order to force the insurance industry to lower its premiums. The co-ops were designed to do the same thing.

President Obama offered state co-ops $6 billion dollars for start-up costs. Since there were only 23 states co-op formed instead of 50 Congress decreased the total payment to $2.4 billion to the 23 start-up co-ops.

All 23 co-ops received their proportional federal loans to meet solvency requirements as well as start-up costs.

President Obama now claims the Republican house denied Obamacare enough money for the co-op to be successful.

Twelve (12) of the 23 nonprofit insurance co-ops announced they will not offer coverage to consumers who bought healthcare coverage in 2015 in 2016. They are bankrupt. Where did the money go?

Somewhere between 300,000 and 600,000 people will be shopping for more expensive healthcare coverage for 2016.

The remaining 11 standing co-ops are $500 million dollar in the hole.

There is no accounting available to explain why these co-ops have failed

Does anyone think these $2.4 billion dollar loans will be paid back to the federal government? I do not. It will simply be added to the federal deficit.

  • “CMS said the government would “use every tool available to recover taxpayer dollars” from the co-ops going out of business, but it declined to say how much she expected to recoup.”

There are many reasons these co-ops have failed. Republicans not giving the co-ops more money, as progressives and Democrats have claimed, is not one of the reasons.

Another area of missing taxpayers’ dollars.

The Senate Finance Committee is looking into the millions of taxpayer dollars being spent on ads to promote Obamacare enrollment.

The total federal government budget for ads and PR was nearly $1 billion in fiscal 2013. How much was spent on Obamacare?

The Health and Human Services budget for “paid media” is about $35 million for the current enrollment period. The $35 million dollars will be spent in the 38 states using in the 2016 enrollment period.

Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, raised concerns about agency ad spending and sent a letter to the acting head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) asking for a full accounting of agency ad spending.

“Increased transparency on government spending on advertising will improve accountability and help ensure that the taxes from hardworking Americans are not squandered and wasted on ineffective or misguided government programs,” he wrote to Acting Administrator Andrew M. Slavitt.

Senator Hatch demanded the accounting by November 25th. Does anyone think he received it?

In 2010, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported the Obama administration spent nearly $20 million on a Medicare brochure that contained “instances in which HHS presented abbreviated information and a positive view of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that is not universally shared.”

The GAO papered over the ridiculous expenditure.

GAO concluded that “nothing in the brochure constitutes communications that are purely partisan, self-aggrandizing, or covert.” 

CRS reported HHS was second only to the Department of Defense, spending $197.4 million on advertising in fiscal 2013.

“The total federal government budget for ads and PR was nearly $1 billion in fiscal 2013.”

Would healthcare be so expensive if the government was transparent and congress was really on top of everything?

Physicians only receive 20% of the healthcare dollars spent.

President Obama and his administration spend taxpayer’s money at will.

Americans have to demand “more efficiency and much more transparency.”

The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.

 All Rights Reserved © 2006 – 2015 “Repairing The Healthcare System” Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

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