Sunday, July 12, 2020
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Thursday, April 17, 2014
GAO to investigate Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange
By Malia Zimmerman @ 3:35 PM :: 3099 Views :: Health Care

GAO to investigate Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange

Photo courtesy of Hawaii Health Connector Hawaii Health Connector sign ups still under one percent of Hawaii’s population. Photo courtesy of Hawaii Health Connector

By Malia Zimmerman, Watchdog.org, April 17, 2014 

HONOLULU – The U.S. Government Accountability Office said Wednesday it will investigate Hawaii Health Connector’s spending of its $204 million federal grant.

Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom filed a complaint March 27, asking for the investigation.

He was the only one of 76 legislators to vote against the establishment of the state Obamacare exchange.

Slom pointed out Hawaii has the lowest exchange enrollment rate in the country — around 8,000 people — despite the $204 million grant, yet the Connector’s interim director Tom Matsuda is lobbying lawmakers for another $4.7 million in state funds for fiscal year 2015 to maintain its operations.

The exchange is supposed to be self sufficient by the end of 2014, but since enrollment is so low, the 2 percent tax on every transaction doesn’t cover the exchange’s operational costs, Matsuda told lawmakers. The exchange expected at least 50,000 people to enroll.

NO TRANSPARENCY: Hawaii Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom filed the complaint with the U.S. GAO which will be investigated NO TRANSPARENCY: Hawaii Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom filed the complaint with the U.S. GAO which will be investigated

A sizable portion of the $204 million grant is going to CGI Corp., which received a $74 million contract to develop and maintain the Connector website.

However, the site has experienced a number of technical problems and delays. Because of similar problems, Slom noted the federal government and other states that had contracts with CGI Corp. cut ties with the vendor.

One of the major problems is the Connector isn’t integrated with the Medicaid system, even though Hawaii’s enrollment process requires consumers to be screened for Medicaid eligibility before seeking coverage, Slom said.

Lawmakers and media have complained about a lack of transparency by the Connector, an independent nonprofit agency set up by the Legislature to run the exchange. The lack of transparency is one of the main reasons Slom asked for the federal investigation.

“The Connector is operated by the state as a nonprofit organization, and governed by a board of directors, so it has been nearly impossible for legislators or the general public to get any specific information regarding the Hawaii Health Connector’s budget and expenditures,” Slom said, adding requests for details have been either denied or ignored.

 TROUBLED: Hawaii Health Connector Director Tom Matsuda testifies April 3 before Congress on Hawaii’s problem-filled Obamacare exchange

Slom wants the GAO to investigate:

  • How the $204 million Hawaii received in ACA grants has been spent.
  • Whether the payment of a large portion of the federal grant to CGI Corp. for a product that continually fails to fulfill the requirements for a state health exchange website can be considered an abuse of federal funds.
  • Why the Connector has failed to publicly disclose all copies of Hawaii’s grant applications related to the establishment of the exchanges.
  • Why the Connector has failed to publicly disclose Hawaii’s contingency plan, which was due Jan. 15, 2013, and was required by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
  • What additional costs were incurred because of the failure to plan for the integration of Hawaii’s Medicaid system into the Hawaii Health Connector and CGI Corp.’s failure to anticipate or incorporate this issue into HHC’s exchange website.

Slom said taxpayers and legislators should be outraged by the Connector’s lack of planning and money management.

AP file photo CUT US OUT: U.S. Rep Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, says Hawaii should be exempt from ACA requirements. AP file photo

“This is not a partisan issue, this is an economic issue,” Slom said.

While none of Hawaii’s four members of Congress, all Democrats, joined Slom, a Republican, in asking the GAO for the investigation, U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa did voice concerns earlier this month about the exchange’s spending and management at a congressional hearing.

Six state health exchange directors, including the director of Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange, were grilled by multiple U.S. House committees trying to determine why the websites aren’t working properly.

The committees are looking into how the six states with troubled Obamacare exchanges spent hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grants, yet still have low enrollment and glitch-filled websites.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, said at the hearing residents of her state are “frustrated and embarrassed” because of the low enrollment in the Obamacare exchange, and “very concerned” about how the $204 million federal Affordable Care Act grant has been allocated and spent.

---30---

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust 

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop 

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Hawaiian

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT