Top health official misled Congress on Obamacare exchange spending, House panel says
A House panel said Tuesday that a top administration health official misled Congress last year by seeming to suggest that the government had already recaptured hundreds of millions of dollars from struggling state exchanges under Obamacare.Instead, federal officials can point to only about $21 million in money they kept from being spent — far less than the $200 million Andy Slavitt, acting administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said had been recouped during testimony last year to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.All told, the government doled out some $4.6 billion to states that decided to set up and run their own health care exchanges, including the states that botched their rollouts, leaving customers in the lurch and forcing the federal government to prolong enrollment and grant exemptions from the Affordable Care Act.Republicans have demanded that the administration try to get back some of the money they say the states wasted on badly run exchanges. Mr. Obama’s aides initially seemed to agree and said they would try to reel in “unallowable costs.”The federal government did recover $32.5 million in a settlement with Maryland and its initial Web contractor, Noridian. It also halted the planned spending of another $21.5 million.Beyond that, CMS can’t say whether it has recouped any more money or even how much the administration is seeking overall.
By Tom Howell Jr. - The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 11, 2016