Last week, whistleblowers in Missouri alerted local media that an ObamaCare facilitator with a $1.2 billion contract paid its employees to do almost nothing … literally. Serco’s paper-application facility in Missouri had so little business that employees had to sit at their desks and entertain themselves most of the day, and the goal set by Serco management had employees aiming at processing just one or two applications a month. Because employees are forbidden from bringing in their own computers or smart phones, they ended up playing Pictionary and socializing most of their day.

A second local TV station in Arkansas wondered if the local Serco office had the same problem. Not only did employees make the same allegations, the office is still hiring even more employees to do nothing:

Not to be outdone, the original station in Missouri, KMOV, followed up on their original story. The work hasn’t picked up, but now Serco is paying OT for doing nothing all day long:

Now that employee said Serco is offering employees an opportunity to work overtime this weekend.

When asked why, the employee was told to catch up.

On what? Sleep?

KMOV unlocks part of the mystery of this story. Serco’s contract with CMS requires a particular level of staffing regardless of the work coming into the facility. If Serco falls below that — presumably measured in man-hours on duty — they can lose their $1.2 billion contract. The OT may well be in play because Serco has trouble getting people to get stuck for eight hours at a stretch with nothing to do, a situation that sounds pleasant until it’s experienced first-hand. (I have had this experience at two different jobs for relatively brief periods, and can attest to the torturous boredom it generates.)

This demonstrates the folly of top-down government control of a market-based industry. No insurance carrier would waste money like this for more than a week or two before shedding jobs and rescaling the effort. Anyone who expected that government control would make this process more efficient should have their heads examined … or better yet, voted out of office.