State ‘Model’ for Obamacare Says $180M Website Too Broken to Fix
Marguerite Bowling /
Massachusetts is the latest state to walk away from its online health insurance exchange.
Officials announced today that Massachusetts Health Connector — the agency in charge of the state’s health exchange under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act — plans to abandon its website, the Boston Globe reported. The agency will buy a web project already used by other states and also connect to HealthCare.gov, the federal website created by the health law known as Obamacare.
The off-the-shelf web product, developed by hCentive, has been used for Obamacare health exchanges in Colorado and Kentucky.
Sarah Iselin, a special assistant to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, told the Globe in a written statement that the “dual track” effort has benefits and challenges. “It does, however, solve for two realities: we need a reliable website to help people during the next open enrollment period, and we need to be in a position to achieve a fully integrated system in 2015,” the Democratic governor said.
To date, Massachusetts has received $180 million in federal grants to build the exchange but it is not clear whether the state agency will ask for more money and how much the fix will cost, the Boston Herald reported. In March, the state — touted by Obama as a model — fired the website’s main project contractor, CGI. The Canadian company also bungled the development and rollout of HealthCare.gov.
The announcement from Massachusetts comes just weeks after Oregon decided to scrap its online exchange after spending nearly $200 million in taxpayer-funded federal grants. Other states that rushed to implement Obamacare and set up online exchanges have reported problems.
Maryland is under pressure to fix its faulty Obamacare website to be ready for the next enrollment period in the fall, The Washington Post reported. In Nevada, a lawyer suing Nevada Health Link last month revealed documents showing the exchange considered secretly dumping all enrollees from its problematic system and starting fresh, the Las Vegas Review reported.
This story was produced by The Foundry’s news team. Nothing here should be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of The Heritage Foundation.