By: John Sexton (Breitbart)
Healthcare.gov was supposed to do more than just sign people up for insurance. It was also supposed to manage subsidy payments to insurers on the back-end of the site. But with the first enrollment period closed, that part of the site is still months from being ready.
Kyle Cheney at Politico reports that deadline for the completion of the back-end continues to slip. He contacted HHS for an update on when they expect it to be ready, but they "refused" to give him an answer.
Last December, HHS Secretary Sebelius told Members of Congress that the back-end was "due to go into effect in mid-January." But by that point, HHS was not only not done with the back-end, it was announcing a rush $91 million contract to find someone new to get the job done by mid-March.
The contracting document stated, "If this functionality is not complete by mid-March 2014, the Government could make erroneous payments to providers and insurers." The document goes on to list four categories of financial error that could result. These included "erroneous estimates of budgeted and projected payments," "inaccurate issuance of payments to health plans," "inaccurate forecasting of Risk Adjustment, Reinsurance, and Risk Corridor," and "failing to support the end of the year reconciliation with IRS."
The new contractor, Accenture, was not able to complete the back-end by March. In fact, the government is still relying on an "interim" accounting process which Politico describes as "pretty much a spreadsheet and some informed estimates." That process is expected to be in place until September.