The contractor is Serco in Missouri, which we’ve noted in the past as the perfect place to work … if you like being locked down for eight hours a day and playing Pictionary. And hey, there’d be nothing wrong with that, if it weren’t for the fact that Serco will get more than a billion dollars in taxpayer money to process non-existent applications. Exactly one month after the first exposé of Serco’s operation, nothing has changed according to KQHA, including the recruitment:

I wrote about the hiring binge last month, which also included overtime to do even more nothing than what was getting accomplished on regular time. The mystery of this particular waste may be solved by looking at Serco’s contract with CMS:

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.

It’s telling that this problem with Serco has been exposed for a month, and yet CMS has done nothing to stanch the waste of taxpayer dollars. Whistleblowers are claiming that we’re flushing a billion dollars down the drain, and yet the same administration that claimed that insurers wasted too much money on activities other than patient care hasn’t lifted a finger to fix this problem. How much patient care would the $1.2 billion deliver if it wasn’tr being wasted by Serco?

Nor is that the only government-run failure in ObamaCare this week. Remember the federal co-ops that were supposed to compete with traditional insurers and force them to spend more on patient care — co-ops that got taxpayer-backed loans to launch? They missed their enrollment goals by a wide margin:

The data, obtained from each co-op by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, suggests that most of the nonprofits fared poorly as they attempted to sell health insurance policies in the federal Obamacare exchanges.

“Enrollment figures to date raise serious questions about how these co-ops plan on staying solvent and that taxpayers will ever be repaid,” Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said in a statement to the Washington Examiner. …

If any co-op fails and defaults on its federal loans, taxpayers will have pay for its insolvency. AWhite House report by the Office of Management and Budget projected up to four out of 10 co-ops could eventually face insolvency.

The House committee also estimated that the public cost for the enrolling co-op customers was often immense, as high the $207,000-per-person expense in Tennessee. There, the Community Health Alliance Mutual Insurance Co. received $73 million in loans but was able to enroll only 354 people.

Minuteman Health in liberal Massachusetts received the second-largest loan, $156 million, but was able to enroll only 1,435 customers at a cost of $109,000 per enrollee.

Basically, we’re looking at the Solyndras of health care, based on the arrogance that led Democrats to believe that they knew how to structure the health-insurance market better than health insurers themselves.