Saturday, June 7, 2014

Five States will need to Spend up to $240 MILLION to Fix Their Obamacare Exchanges (auto-on-audio)

Five states that launched health exchanges under the Affordable Care Act expect to spend as much as $240 million to fix their sites or switch to the federal marketplace, a Wall Street Journal analysis shows. 
Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada and Oregon estimate the money will be needed to fix problems with troubled marketplaces or to join the federal exchange before the next enrollment period in November, according to an analysis of data provided by the state exchanges.
Funds may come from the states, remaining federal grants and new federal requests. 
The fresh spending is fueling a pitched debate in some states that could shape how residents buy their health insurance. Some local lawmakers say upgrading or sustaining the exchanges could deplete funding for roads, education or other vital programs.
In Washington, some Republicans lawmakers want a moratorium on spending federal funds on marketplaces still bedeviled by problems. "I don't think more money will solve the problem," said Sen. John Barrasso, (R., Wyo.). "We should stop the bleeding." 
"We are supporting states' efforts to operate marketplaces that work for consumers and taxpayers in the most cost-effective ways possible," said Aaron Albright, spokesman for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which implements the health law. "We are closely monitoring how grant money is being spent and working to ensure that all consumers can gain new health coverage options offered in the marketplaces."
The five states have spent or committed to spend more than $700 million in federal funds, according to the Journal analysis. The U.S. has already granted almost $4.7 billion to states that have built or considered building their own marketplaces, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. 
The Obama administration would likely face GOP criticism if it provides more federal money to struggling exchanges. But if it doesn't and the enrollment sites still don't function smoothly this fall, that could give ammunition to the law's opponents during the midterm elections.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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