SEPTEMBER 18, 2015
Months after Judicial Watch exposed massive security risks with the government’s healthcare.gov website, a federal audit reveals that the public employees responsible for overseeing the disastrous Obamacare site were not properly trained, failed to keep adequate records and stood by as delays mounted to millions over the original contract costs.
We’re talking an astounding $600 million in contracts to build the website for the president’s signature healthcare law. The government employees tasked with supervising the colossal project actually helped private contractors fleece American taxpayers, according to an investigation conducted by the Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General (IG). Most of the derelict employees work at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which manages federal healthcare programs including Obamacare. The IG determined there were widespread failures and poor oversight by CMS, which functions under HHS.
The investigation focused on nearly two dozen contracts considered to be most important to the operation of the website, which was supposed to create a marketplace that serves as a one-stop shop for health insurance. Instead, it’s had a multitude of problems that have been well-documented in the media. The deals to develop this federal insurance marketplace went mostly to eight politically connected companies that raked in north of $600 million, the IG’s report says. “As of March 31, 2014, CMS had identified 62 contracts that it had awarded to 35 different contractors to develop, implement, and operate the Federal marketplace,” the report states.
That means there are a lot of taxpayer dollars floating around for this cause. You’d think the government would select its finest employees to oversee the deals. Instead, CMS violated federal rules by assigning unqualified employees to oversee contracts worth more than $10 million, according to the audit. In one case an unqualified agency employee, who didn’t even have lower-level certification to supervise contracts over $25,000, oversaw a $130 million deal for more than a year. In a separate case documented by the IG, an unauthorized CMS worker allowed an eye-popping $28 million cost overrun that wasn’t even identified until the agency finally assigned a more knowledgeable staffer to take over the deal.
These atrocious examples are probably not the half of it because CMS couldn’t even provide investigators with routine documents that should have been readily available. That means there’s no telling the true magnitude of the damage. As for accountability, there appears to be none as is often the case in government. The Obama officials—former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and former CMS head Marilyn Tavenner—in charge of this boondoggle are both gone and it’s highly unlikely either will face any consequences.
The HHS watchdog report only confirms the fraud and corruption that has plagued the president’s hostile takeover of the nation’s healthcare system. Back in 2013 Judicial Watch reported that healthcare.gov was designed by a team made up entirely of Obama minions, including the design manager for the president’s 2008 campaign and the White House Deputy Director of New Media. The expert team of Obama pals promised to deliver a bilingual website that would be the healthcare law’s centerpiece and serve as an essential tool that would guide millions of Americans through the rigorous process of choosing insurance.
Despite huge failures, the government officials in charge of Obamacare’s tumultuous implementation and beleaguered health exchange website quietly received tens of thousands of dollars in performance bonuses and other taxpayer-funded perks. In fact, last year JW obtained records documenting that enraging reward system. JW has also exposed incriminating HHS records detailing a massive, taxpayer-funded multi-media campaign designed to promote Obamacare. A few years ago JW reported on a controversial Obamacare initiative that gives “community-based organizations” $1 billion to devise “compelling new ideas” to deliver better services to those “with the highest health care needs”
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