WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — The Obama administration has spent an estimated $840 million on HealthCare.gov, with more than $150 million of that being spent on the failed version of the Affordable Care Act website that launched in 2013.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report says that the Obama administration “undertook the development of HealthCare.gov and its related systems without effective planning or oversight practices, despite facing a number of challenges that increased both the level of risk and the need for effective oversight.”
The GAO cautioned that the costs may increase as larger sections of the Obamacare website continue to roll out. The report notes that “significant risks remain” and that future open enrollment periods may encounter additional challenges.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency responsible for creating the insurance exchanges, noted that “key technical requirements” are still unknown. In 2011, the CMS allocated $56 million for the federally-run insurance marketplaces but that cost rose to $209 million.
“New and changing requirements drove cost increases during the first year of development, while the complexity of the system and rework resulting from changing CMS decisions added to … costs in the second year,” the GAO report states.
Contract changes between CMS and the tech companies establishing the exchanges saw large cost overruns – “from an initial obligation of $95 million to more than $175 million, the National Journal reports.
Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Fred Upton, said the upcoming problems with Obamacare will continue to see taxpayer dollars wasted on the Affordable Care Act exchange.
“The disastrous implementation of the president’s health care law has already led to canceled plans, lost access to doctors, and higher premiums,” Upton said in a statement. “Now add to that hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars wasted on an exchange that is still not ready for prime time.”
CMS Spokesman Aaron Albright said the agency is moving forward from the past management problems.
“CMS takes its responsibility for contracting oversight seriously and has already implemented contracting reforms that are more extensive than the recommendations in the report, including ending our contract with CGI and moving to a new type of contract with Accenture that rewards performance,” he said.