NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Feds Lack the Data to Determine How Well Key Obamacare Provisions Are Working

September 24, 2014

Federal health insurance officials can't tell Congress how much the government has spent since 2010 selling Obamacare to a key segment of the market, according to the Government Accountability Office.

The accounting system used by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid, which manages Obamacare, doesn't track "expenditure totals for CCIIO-related polling, focus groups, or advertising and other public relations activities," GAO said in a report made public Monday.

The CCIIO is the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, which is part of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid.  Its main focus is overseeing implementation of the Obamacare provisions that apply to the private health insurance market and the health insurance exchanges created by the program.

Federal officials were also unable to say if they have enough employees to carry out CCIIO's duties under Obamacare because, GAO said, "the staff reassignment information provided to GAO was not complete, was not supported by documentary evidence, and could not be verified."

  • The only verifiable data GAO said CMS could provide was "CMS's estimates for total obligations for fiscal year 2014, which was $3.7 billion;

  • The number of staff as of September 30, 2013, which was 347;

  • And total salary expenditures from March 2010 through fiscal year 2013, which were $79.8 million."

Otherwise, GAO said, the inability of CMS to provide credible data on what CCIIO is doing in a timely fashion means "Congress and other decision makers may not have access to timely and reliable CCIIO-related information that they may need to make resource allocation decisions and assessments of program performance."

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., said the GAO report demonstrates that "the Obama administration has tried to hide the ball from Congress on just how much it is spending on the health care law."

"After promising transparency and then ignoring repeated requests from Congress, we now find out that the administration is not even keeping track of how many taxpayer dollars are going out the door."

Source:  Mark Tapscott, "Feds Lack the Data to Determine How Well Key Obamacare Provisions Are Working," Washington Examiner, September 23, 2014 and Government Accountability Office, "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Procedures for Reporting Certain Financial Management Information Should Be Improved," GAO-14-697, September 22, 2014.


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