Hawaii spends $120 million on ObamaCare, enrolls … 4300

posted at 12:01 pm on February 26, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Hey, the state exchanges are doing great! At spending money, anyway. The state of Hawaii, which was supposed to have one of the easiest tasks in the country handling a state where the rate of coverage was already highers than average, spent $120 million … and has only signed up 4,300 people in four months:

Hawaii already had one of the highest insured rates in the nation as the result of a 40-year-old state law requiring employers to provide coverage. The state received more than $205 million in federal money to build a health insurance exchange to serve those still uninsured.

Yet four months after enrollments began, the Hawaii Health Connector has allocated $120 million while signing up only about 4,300 people for health plans — fewer than any other state. Despite officials’ initial hopes of enrolling tens of thousands of Hawaiians, only 400 employers have applied for plans for their employees.

In case you’re wondering, that comes to $27,907 per sign-up. That’s not the only math involved, either. If Hawaii got $205 million in federal grants for the exchange and spent $120 million of it, where’s the other $85 million?

The LA Times compares this to Colorado, where Washington only spent $26 million, but the state exchange signed up 68,000 consumers. Neither of these figures come with a breakdown of the sigm-ups between Medicaid and private-insurance plans, though, nor a representation of how many paid for their initial premium and confirmed enrollment. Did this just reach a few of the Medicaid-eligible Hawaiians? How many of the private insurance plans sold (if any at all) went to younger, healthier consumers rather than others that will seriously distort the risk pools in the state?

Given that the web site was built by CGI Federal, we probably won’t know those answers for months, but that’s not the only problems with transparency in Hawaii. Thanks to the structure built by the state, even legislators won’t be able to get answers to find out what happened to the money:

Most states operating independent health exchanges have placed them under direct state control or created strong legislative oversight, but Hawaii established its exchange as a separate nonprofit agency, rendering the details of its daily operations largely invisible to even the state Legislature. Lawmakers, who have no power to compel budget information, have struggled for months to get basic financial information or even an explanation of how the Health Connector will remain viable when federal grant money runs out this year. …

Frustration over the lack of transparency into the Health Connector’s operations has led 20 House lawmakers to sign on to a bill, scheduled for another hearing Wednesday, designed to strip it of its nonprofit status and place it under the control of the state. But that move is facing resistance from lawmakers who fear the state will be saddled with the Health Connector’s increasingly apparent financial problems and absorb its potential legal liabilities.

So far, the legislature still won’t act to take over Hawaii Health Connector, which means Hawaiians — and everyone else — will continue to wave aloha to their cash go down the drain for very little in results. With the effective end of open enrollments arriving in a month, it appears that Hawaii would have done better just to buy insurance coverage for the 4300 residents with the $120 million wasted on the web portal — and a few thousand more with that other $85 million that appears to have gone nowhere.

Update: Jim Geraghty has a great roundup of other ObamaCare train wrecks coming out of the states.


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Schadenfreude on February 26, 2014 at 12:04 PM

When Obamacare handed insurance companies millions of compulsory customers, it also handed them a reminder of one of their industry’s toughest realities: Consumers want low premiums, and they want to see any doctor they want. And it’s impossible to give them both.

Generally, insurers selling plans on Obamacare’s exchanges opted to keep premiums low, hoping that the public would prefer a low up-front price tag—even if that meant customers couldn’t always pick their first-choice doctor.

But “if you like your doctor you can hope she’s in our network” was always going to be a tough sell for insurers. With the insurance market now viewed through the distorted lens of the endless partisan fight over Obamacare, it’s going to be harder than ever. Republicans have pounced on the narrow networks, citing them as further proof that President Obama lied when he said the Affordable Care Act would not cost people their doctors.

Do NOT comply.

Holder urges that AGs not comply with the laws of the land. Don’t support anarchy. Don’t comply and don’t fund the thuggish travesty.

Schadenfreude on February 26, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Well, they have a good excuse-they’re too busy building the new Honolulu Monorail!

Del Dolemonte on February 26, 2014 at 12:06 PM

I will not comply because I am a free citizen of the United States, not a subject of its government. I consider non-compliance with this monstrosity and the tens of thousands of pages of regulations that are to be enforced by an unelected bureaucracy, and that have left a gigantic carbon footprint on our environment and the United States Constitution, a duty.

Non-compliance is my executive order, and that order reads in part that I do not recognize any government’s claim on my action or inaction in the marketplace, nor upon any personal information I am unwilling to divulge.

Schadenfreude on February 26, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Pocket change – that’s ONLY $26,906 per person – that’s cheap for anything the gubmint does….

dentarthurdent on February 26, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Have they been hacked yet? I’ll wager it has and that the site is larded up with Malware, spyware and viruses.

Any takers?

dogsoldier on February 26, 2014 at 12:11 PM

So far, the legislature still won’t act to take over Hawaii Health Connector, which means Hawaiians — and everyone else — will continue to wave aloha to their cash go down the drain for very little in results. With the effective end of open enrollments arriving in a month, it appears that Hawaii would have done better just to buy insurance coverage for the 4300 residents with the $120 million wasted on the web portal — and a few thousand more with that other $85 million that appears to have gone nowhere.

The amount of taxpayer funds absolutely wasted on these websites is little more than stunning – particularly to this 26 year IT pro who has built enterprise level eComm initiatives (B2C and B2B) at a fraction of those costs.

What strikes me the most of the federal, HI, OR, CA, MN, MD, and MA efforts is how frivolous lawmakers act when it comes to spending taxpayer’s funds. There is little to no fiduciary responsibility or respect demonstrated towards where these funds come from.

In OR, when the contracts were signed with Oracle for the construction of that failure, none of the standard / normal protections or requirements (SOW etc), were included in the contract to protect the people of OR. Why weren’t they?

In the private sector, not only would those responsible have lost their jobs, they would be facing indictments for their criminal negligence and malfeasance.

Athos on February 26, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Schadenfreude on February 26, 2014 at 12:08 PM

He and all the socialists are a bunch of lying, low life pond scum.

dogsoldier on February 26, 2014 at 12:12 PM

The good news is the Left is no longer able to spin this and are relegated to boldfaced lies. Watching this has become good family fun!!

Deano1952 on February 26, 2014 at 12:18 PM

He and all the socialists are a bunch of lying, low life pond scum.

dogsoldier on February 26, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Sebelius, aka Nurse Ratched first and foremost. Yesterday she lied about her own figures.

Today there is new proof that they knew about all the security problems and gave the “go ahead anyway” directive.

These are all charlatans. She’ll be sent back to Kansans, soon enough but it’s way bigger. Your life depends on them.

Schadenfreude on February 26, 2014 at 12:18 PM

If you are not planning on taking care of yourself and family, I feel very sorry for you.

Deano1952 on February 26, 2014 at 12:19 PM

If Hawaii got $205 million in federal grants for the exchange and spent $120 million of it, where’s the other $85 million?

Mainly in the offshore bank accounts of the Dim politicians involved in setting up the Obamacare site, of course.

Some of the dumber ones keep their graft in other places, like their freezers.

AZCoyote on February 26, 2014 at 12:21 PM

27906.98 per person.
nice…

dmacleo on February 26, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Hey, only $30k a pop. Sounds reasonable to me!

sarc/

Texas Zombie on February 26, 2014 at 12:25 PM

At $28K per that could have bought a lot of insurance. Anyone else suspecting that this is all just a democrat party money laundering scam?

Even the leftist government thugs couldn’t be that inept.

jukin3 on February 26, 2014 at 12:26 PM

And this is why government shouldn’t be doing ANYTHING beyond the things enumerated in the Constitution. It’s TERRIBLE at it, and it wastes money like a CONTINENT of drunken sailors.

ConstantineXI on February 26, 2014 at 12:26 PM

At $28K per that could have bought a lot of insurance. Anyone else suspecting that this is all just a democrat party money laundering scam?

Even the leftist government thugs couldn’t be that inept.

jukin3 on February 26, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Yes. How many democrats running exchanges have already resigned/been forced out over this? Including at least one under suspicion of exactly that, looting the cash.

ConstantineXI on February 26, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Hawaii is the pus sack of liberalism and most of their “natives” are waiting for free healthcare and fee everything else.

rplat on February 26, 2014 at 12:29 PM

At $28K per that could have bought a lot of insurance. Anyone else suspecting that this is all just a democrat party money laundering scam?
jukin3 on February 26, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Why, uh, no, never entered my mind….
And neither are all those DOE green energy loans, GM bailout, Wall Street bailouts, and……….

dentarthurdent on February 26, 2014 at 12:29 PM

On another note, if anybody thinks that King Barky the Incompetent will not extend the enrollment date past the end of March then I have a bridge to sell you.

jukin3 on February 26, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Even the leftist government thugs couldn’t be that inept.

jukin3 on February 26, 2014 at 12:26 PM

You under-estimate them… or should that be over…
Not sure in this case.

dentarthurdent on February 26, 2014 at 12:31 PM

“free” vice “fee” . . . sorry for the error.

rplat on February 26, 2014 at 12:31 PM

They get it FREE, WE pay the fee.

dentarthurdent on February 26, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Hawaii is the pus sack of liberalism and most of their “natives” are waiting for free healthcare and fee everything else.

rplat on February 26, 2014 at 12:29 PM

“free” vice “fee” . . . sorry for the error.

rplat on February 26, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Sebelius versus Sebelius

Schadenfreude on February 26, 2014 at 12:33 PM

rplat on February 26, 2014 at 12:31 PM
dentarthurdent on February 26, 2014 at 12:31 PM
rplat on February 26, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Ok – how did my reply to your post end up above your post?
Did HA hire some out of work 404error programmers?

dentarthurdent on February 26, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Sebelius versus Sebelius

Schadenfreude on February 26, 2014 at 12:33 PM

I always lie, but I’m not lying to you….

dentarthurdent on February 26, 2014 at 12:36 PM

27906.98 per person.
nice…

dmacleo on February 26, 2014 at 12:22 PM

At that rate, they could have just given every one of those 4300 a job paying 28,000 and told them to buy their own insurance.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 26, 2014 at 12:43 PM

On another note, if anybody thinks that King Barky the Incompetent will not extend the enrollment date past the end of March then I have a bridge to sell you.

jukin3 on February 26, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Yep. That is obvious.

ConstantineXI on February 26, 2014 at 12:45 PM

We got 4 million now, and you just wait. We’ll have 400 million when the employer mandate starts, oh, wait….
–K. Sebelius

See, she was being honest and counting the illegal aliens.

NOMOBO on February 26, 2014 at 12:33 PM

NOMOBO on February 26, 2014 at 12:46 PM

4300? That’s just the surfers on welfare…

vnvet on February 26, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Lawmakers, who have no power to compel budget information

So DEMOCRATIC law makers create an agency with TAX money, but they have no oversight?

How very convenient.

Perhaps someone should look in the bank account of the local DEMOCRATIC party.

GarandFan on February 26, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Well, they have a good excuse-they’re too busy building the new Honolulu Monorail!

Del Dolemonte on February 26, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Will that be part of the Intercontinental Railroad?

HumpBot Salvation on February 26, 2014 at 1:06 PM

How many perfect crimes has this administration and the democrats pulled off since Obama was elected?They steal tax payers money and blame it on doing good for the people.These are perfect crimes with no repercussions.They make the great robbers and thieves of the past look like pikers.

docflash on February 26, 2014 at 1:14 PM

Will that be part of the Intercontinental Railroad?

HumpBot Salvation on February 26, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Those Hawaiian Asians and their projects! I’d betcha that their monorail project even has the redundancy of a second rail built into the design. ;0

Happy Nomad on February 26, 2014 at 1:16 PM

So DEMOCRATIC law makers create an agency with TAX money, but they have no oversight?

How very convenient.

Perhaps someone should look in the bank account of the local DEMOCRATIC party.

GarandFan on February 26, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Well it’s probably all loaded up with their friends, family and neighbors so it’s all good.

w00t!!!

BigWyo on February 26, 2014 at 1:19 PM

At that rate, they could have just given every one of those 4300 a job paying 28,000 and told them to buy their own insurance.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 26, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Or just given them free Medicaid.

But we need to cut the Hawaiians some slack–they’re a little slow on record-keeping. How long did it take Hawaii to find a certain birth certificate?

As the most famous Hawaiian of them all said, Hawaii is in Asia.

Steve Z on February 26, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Nice ROI, Jefferson would be proud. Willie not Thomas.

D-fusit on February 26, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Hawaii is the pus sack of liberalism and most of their “natives” are waiting for free healthcare and free everything else.

rplat on February 26, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Does the Hawaii Health Connector cover haoles, or is there a separate plan for them?

slickwillie2001 on February 26, 2014 at 1:41 PM

How long did it take Hawaii to find a certain birth certificate?

Steve Z on February 26, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Just long enough for a family friend of the rat-eared wonder to become Governor. At which time they finally produced a document where the doctor who was listed is conveniently dead with no other way to corroborate the legitimacy of the document.

Happy Nomad on February 26, 2014 at 1:44 PM

How long did it take Hawaii to find create a certain birth certificate?

Steve Z on February 26, 2014 at 1:22 PM

FIFY.

dentarthurdent on February 26, 2014 at 1:49 PM

$120 million while signing up only about 4,300 people for health plans

Using Common Core,
that’s only $120.43 per person.

mrt721 on February 26, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Time to wake up

Schadenfreude on February 26, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Yeah, but at least the high-speed Honolulu to Disneyland rail project is still looking like it will come in right under the Eleven-elevnty dollar Gazillion budget when it’s finally completed in 2036!

I’m not sure whether we should declare war on Hawaii or Kenya for letting this failure some call president to even exist. Either way, I hate both those countries!/

ZeusGoose on February 26, 2014 at 2:39 PM

the Eleven-elevnty dollar Gazillion budget

Should have been…

the Eleven-elevnty Gazillion dollar budget

I hate it when I get my facts wrong!

ZeusGoose on February 26, 2014 at 2:42 PM

As the most famous Hawaiian of them all said, Hawaii is in Asia.

Steve Z on February 26, 2014 at 1:22 PM


WHOEVER SAID THAT IS A RACIST!!!!!!!!

/If I’m understanding the standard right…

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 26, 2014 at 2:46 PM

As the most famous Hawaiian of them all said, Hawaii is in Asia.

Steve Z on February 26, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Well, um…

You know? He only said that because we need better maps and such?

So people would know where the Iraq and the Hawaii were?

Um, I think you’re a racist, or something, you know?

/

ZeusGoose on February 26, 2014 at 2:49 PM

I’m not sure whether we should declare war on Hawaii or Kenya for letting this failure some call president to even exist. Either way, I hate both those countries!/

ZeusGoose on February 26, 2014 at 2:39 PM

I heard the other day that Kenya now insists 0barky was born in the USA.

dentarthurdent on February 26, 2014 at 2:57 PM

This article is incorrect about the amount spent on the Colorado exchange. It spent almost $30 million in 2013, but this doesn’t include earlier years in which expensive IT contracts were let. In all, the federal grants for Colorado’s exchange were almost $178 million. In addition, the exchange collected $15 million from the closing of the Colorado high risk pool.

See http://completecolorado.com/pagetwo/2013/12/16/more-perspective-on-the-colorado-health-benefits-exchange/ for more on this.

secant on February 26, 2014 at 3:20 PM

Man, I know that the government always gets rooked on contracts, but $120 MILLION dollars for a friggin’ website! What the hey!

NavyMustang on February 26, 2014 at 3:47 PM

2150 of the 4300 are illegal immigrants who are on the dole also.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on February 26, 2014 at 3:51 PM

And just think. Only half of Americans are working, so that means that only half of us are paying for this unconstitutional waste.

F_This on February 26, 2014 at 4:23 PM

As I understand it, Pre-Paid Health Care applies to anyone who works more than 20 hours a week. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that part-timers work for usually maximum 19.5 hours a week and employers can then duck having to provide insurance.

Housing prices here on Oahu is about $600,000 median for a single family house and $300,000 for a condo. Unleaded regular runs about $4 per gallon. To give an idea of cost of living.

If you have a job that is not part-time, you have health insurance. Even if the hours you work falls below the PPACA threshold. If you have a part-time job (defined as less than 20 hours a week), you don’t have insurance and it is unlikely you would be able to afford PPACA mandated coverages unless the subsidies are like pretty substantial.

So if you have a choice between eating and such to carry on living, and spending it on health care insurance that likely would have high deductibles which means more out-of-pocket costs before you access insurance, then why sign up unless your particular situation makes the benefits you will get from the insurance more than it is going to cost you to access it?

Hawaii’s Pre-Paid Health Care law is good for people if you have a job that is not part-time.

Russ808 on February 26, 2014 at 5:35 PM

What is the true story here? Yes a lot of money is spent for a little return. Yes a lot of money is not accounted for. Yes a lot of money most likely went in to someones pockets. Yes some of this may have been pay off for hiding the Obama records.

As Anna Butt would say, the real public shame is in the total numbers. Some estimates have the total cost to date to be around $6 Trillion. No one knows, no one is reporting. With about 4 Million sign ups, no one really knows, no one is really reporting. That comes out to a Nation wide cost of about

$1.5 million per signed up individual.

Is this true?

No one knows, no one is telling, no one is reporting. It’s all best guess work.

The cost of acquiring a sign up will normally go down in time BUT with all the cost corridors, waivers and mistakes, it looks more like the cost of acquiring a sign-up is going to go up.

All this because a few million could not afford health care insurance.

The real public shame here is that “We The People” are letting this happen. Our “FREE” press is not asking the real questions.

We have become a Nation of Fattened Caves led to the sacrifice. It is our own fault for allowing this.

If this is the best our Congress can do then we need a new congress. Oh yes that is in November 2014.

jpcpt03 on February 27, 2014 at 11:52 AM