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Slavitt Questioned on Obamacare Spending on State Exchanges

Andrew Slavitt questioned on federal fund spent on failed Obamacare exchanges in several states Andrew Slavitt questioned on federal fund spent on failed Obamacare exchanges in several states[/caption] The top government official overseeing Obamacare faced tough questions before a Congressional Committee over federal dollars spent on failed state healthcare exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. Andrew Slavitt, the acting director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) was queried by both Democrats and Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee. Slavitt tried to assure members of Congress that the Obama Administration is working to recover the federal taxpayer funds spent on failed state exchanges, and that in no instance would money be spent for duplicate efforts under Obamacare. This hasn’t stopped the strenuous questions from members of Congress from both parties.We can provide you with an accounting of every dollar that has been spent, “Slavitt told the Subcommittee, “And were in the process in many cases of pulling that money back.” They failed but they spent all this money and then said ‘gee sorry, it didn’t work out,'” said Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), chairman of the Subcommittee. “Is that acceptable?” It was only Republicans questioning Slavitt on the issue, but Democrats as well. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) said, “I think this could be the committee where we have hearings and then we sit down to think about how we can improve the Affordable Care Act…but frankly, I don’t have much hope.” Republicans cited a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in which recommendations were made to improve the oversight of the state’s Obamacare exchanges, and evaluations of them in four areas found them to be less than fully operational. The GAO says none of the state exchanges are functional, “ said Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), “Mr. Slavitt, that means it ain’t workin’.” The failures of the state Obamacare exchanges in Oregon and Maryland have lead to those states filing lawsuits against the IT firms involved in developing those state web sites under the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. The Cover Oregon exchange failed after the state of Oregon spent more than $300 million of federal taxpayer money on the failed state exchange, leading to a suit against Oracle Corporation by the Attorney General of Oregon. Likewise, the failure of the state exchange in Maryland has lead to a settlement with Noridian Healthcare Solutions, which will pay $45 million back, including an undisclosed amount of those funds going to the state of Maryland. The recovery of federal funds by some of these states, which is seen as a “reward” for states that failed to successfully administer and implement their state Obamacare exchanges, has raised concerns about what some have called “blue state slush funds” for those states. All of the funds spent on these failed exchanges were from federal grants under Obamacare, and some members of Congress and others have demanded that CMS recover these funds to the federal government where they originated. Many members of Congress and Senators have raised questions about the spending of federal dollars on the failed exchanges, for which more than $5 billion was allocated by the Barack Obama Administration under the Affordable Care Act. As the Acting Director of CMS, Slavitt has been appointed to the position by President Obama, but faces a full confirmation process before the U.S. Senate for that position. Slavitt’s confirmation has also lead to many questions about the spending of money and recovery of those funds from the states where the exchanges have failed. As we come closer to the end of the Obama Administration and there are more questions raised than answered on these issues, it seems possible that Slavitt’s nomination could remain unconfirmed until the next president takes office in January of 2017.  ]]>

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