By Bre Payton and Andrew Collins | Watchdog.org
As state-based Obamacare exchanges continue to fail, conservative pundits and politicos gripe about the failures of big government and the wasteful spending involved in the online insurance portals.
At Watchdog.org, the cup is always half full of yummy Kool-aid, so here are five bright spots surrounding the Obamacare exchange failures.
1. Sure, Oregon’s exchange failed spectacularly, but at least we got these catchy hipster jingles out of the deal.
The ads cost taxpayers about $2.9 million and garnered roughly 225,000 views on Youtube.
The cost of these ads wasn’t the only expense Oregon stuck to taxpayers. The state racked up a $305 million tab to build a dysfunctional site that didn’t sign a single soul until officials introduced a hybrid enrollment operation.
Recently, the state decided to throw in the towel and force its enrollees to use the notoriously glitchy federal exchange site, Healthcare.gov.
2. Talk about shovel-ready: $474 million in exchange stimulus
Failed exchanges in Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada and Maryland have cost almost half a billion in federal tax dollars. But, like the massive stimulus of 2009, the money for failed exchanges created some high-paying temporary jobs.
3.Of the 24 states that adopted their own exchanges or partnered with the feds, only four have flopped — an 83 percent success rate isn’t bad, right?
Not bad on a school paper, except even where the exchanges are functioning properly, Obamacare still isn’t helping many of the uninsured, as 74 percent of enrollees already had insurance.
Previously uninsured enrollees aren’t paying up either. A study shows that only 22 percent of them have paid premiums, while 83 percent of those who were already insured have paid.
4. Some federal bureaucrats are about to get Hawaiian vacations!
Hawaii’s health care exchange will be the next to fall, predicts Josh Archambault, a senior analyst with the Foundation for Government Accountability. “The Hawaii exchange has the highest cost per enrollee in the entire country and the future of the exchange is extremely uncertain,” he told Watchdog.org.
5. Massachusetts will rise from the ashes and create double the jobs
Once called the model for Obamacare, the Masschusetts exchange, which predates all other online marketplaces, is set to fail within the next year or so. After pumping in more than $500 million into the project, including $170 million in federal dollars, officials are scrapping the old framework to build a new one.
Officials, meanwhile, are preparing to plug in to HealthCare.gov as a backup plan in case things go awry with the new system. Pursuing both options will cost at least another $120 million, a number that Politico said could be cut in half if the state simply signed on with the federal system.
At least Massachusetts is creating double the jobs, right? Thanks, taxpayers!
Archambault warned that is is unlikely that the new contractor can get it rolling in five months, when open insurance enrollment begins again, considering the previous contractor, CGI, needed more than 3 years to set up the failed site.
Contact Bre Payton at Bre@WatchdogVirginia.org and Andrew Collins at Andrew.Collins@FranklinCenterHQ.org