Committee Leaders Press Administration for Information Regarding Failed State Health Care Exchanges

June 2, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today pressed the Department of Health and Human services for details regarding several failed state-run health care exchanges. The leaders write, “According to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Department of Health and Human Services has awarded at least $1,314,625,070 for State Based Exchanges that have failed or are so flawed that they require substantial modification.” Committee leaders are concerned that the administration has awarded more than $1 billion in taxpayer dollars to just seven states – Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon, Nevada, Hawaii, Minnesota, and Vermont – for failed or failing health care exchanges.

“The president’s health care law will long be remembered for its broken promises and astonishing lack of accountability,” commented full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “Just when you thought the situation could not get any worse with Americans enduring rising premiums, cancelled plans, and limited health care coverage, we learn more than $1 billion of taxpayer dollars has been squandered on broken websites in just seven states. And the exchanges in the seven states, none of which have delivered on their promise, now demand even more taxpayer dollars to be fixed or completely rebuilt. A billion dollars is a steep price to pay for incompetence.”

“The administration threw away not just $800 million on its own broken website, but $1 billion on failed state exchanges, too,” said Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA). “The taxpayers deserve to know whether any due diligence was performed on these grants by the administration in its haste to rush forward with a broken law.”

The committee leaders are seeking a list of individuals responsible for awarding the exchange grants, details regarding the review process through which grants were approved and awarded, documents related to the implementation and oversight of state-run exchanges, and any other requests the administration has received for additional funding or federal assistance for the failed exchanges. The leaders also press the Obama administration to “make the HHS, CMS, and CCIIO individuals responsible for the state exchange projects in Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada, and Oregon available for a briefing.”

The letter was signed by Upton, Murphy, Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX), full committee Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Vice Chairman of the Health and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittees Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX).

Read the complete letter online here.

NOTE: Upton and committee member Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) requested a review by the Government Accountability Office of the failed Oregon exchange. GAO accepted this request in March.