Obamacare in seven states

Peter Suderman conducts a tour of seven state Obamacare exchanges that have been hobbled by technical difficulties. Suderman compiles the sums spent on the state exchanges and notes this mind-blowing fact: “The federal government spent more on broken state-run exchanges than it did on its own troubled system.” Assessing the performance of the state exchanges, Suderman finds that Obamacare is well above the Mendoza line but putting in a pitiful performance. Half are deficient:

Of the 14 states, plus the District of Columbia, that established their own health insurance coverage under Obamacare, seven remain dysfunctional, disabled, or severely underperforming. Development of those exchanges was funded heavily by the federal government through a series of grants that totaled more than $1.2 billion—almost double the $677 million cost of development for the federal exchange.

Oregon of course takes the cake (and Suderman has the links to prove it):

No exchange failed more fully or more spectacularly than Cover Oregon. The site was touted as an ambitious, expansive vision for what a state-run exchange could be, with The Washington Post declaring that it could be the White House’s favorite exchange. The project received a $48 million “early innovator” grant from the federal government, which hoped that the exchange would be a model for other states State officials announced early on that the exchange’s launch would be delayed by a few weeks in order to get every detail right. But months later, the exchange remained offline and unusable. Reporting by The Oregonian later revealed that independent consultants paid to monitor the project had warned early on that it was headed for disaster, but that leadership in the Oregon Health Authority attempted to silence criticism by withholding payment. The state official in charge of building the exchange has stepped down, and a group of Republican congressional representatives have called for a federal investigation.

Total Federal Grants: $303 million (a $1 million planning grant, a $48.1 million early innovator grant, an $11.8 million technology grant, and $233 million worth of establishment grants to support marketing, testing, implementation, and other operating expenses)

What’s the problem? I’d like to think that some day never comes, in the words of the Creedence Clearwater song, but some day these technical problems will be solved, we will all be poorer, and we will be left with Obamacare to boot.