As Cost Surpasses the $2 Billion Mark, Press Mostly Yawns

September 26th, 2014 10:05 PM

It wasn't that long ago that Obamacare defenders were ridiculing those of us who pointed out that the fully loaded cost of would surely top the $1 billion mark.

Well, we were wrong — to be so conservative. The real number is "about" $2.1 billion and counting, according to a Bloomberg report which is mostly being kept out of the non-business press.

Bloomberg's Alex Wayne also noted that the Health and Human Services Department has deliberately made it difficult to track costs:

Obamacare Website Costs Exceed $2 Billion, Study Finds

The federal government’s Obamacare enrollment system has cost about $2.1 billion so far, according to a Bloomberg Government analysis of contracts related to the project.

Spending for and related programs, including at the Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies, exceeds cost estimates provided by the Obama administration, the analysis found. The government’s most recent estimate, limited to spending on computer systems by the agency that runs the site, through February, is $834 million. and its associated programs are the main portal for millions of Americans to sign up for coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare. Spending for the system has been a matter of dispute between the administration and Republican opponents in Congress, who have tried to block funding for the law.

... “The way in which Obamacare has been rolled out has been very messy,” with spending scattered across dozens of contracts, many of them predating the law and amended afterward, said Peter Gosselin, a senior health-care analyst at BGov and lead author of study. “One of the reasons it has been implemented in the way it has been, financially, is precisely to deny opponents of the law a clear target.”

The construction of involved 60 companies, supervised by employees of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services instead of a lead contractor, according to the inspector general at the Health and Human Services Department. The project was marked by infighting among the contractors, CMS officials and top officials at HHS, the Cabinet-level department that oversees CMS, according to e-mails released Sept. 17 by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

At this point, it's worth recalling that three guys on the West Coast were able to construct, a site which "is a free guide that makes it easier to find and sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act," over a long weekend last year about a month after's disastrous debut. Yet the government has spent over $2 billion so far — and they're far from done.

Additionally, we shouldn't forget the state exchange failures running into the hundreds of millions of dollars, most notably Minnesota, Maryland, and Massachusetts. Oh, and (who can forget?) Oregon, whose $248 million failure was the subject of the following priceless segment by HBO's John Oliver:

Searches here and here indicate that the Associated Press has not taken note of Bloomberg's finding. The New York Times referred to it in a one-sentence blurb which avoided a dollar figure (" cost more than twice its estimates, an analysis finds") at its "You're The Boss" small business blog today (as if that's the only group which cares about the news), making it highly unlikely that it will make the paper's print edition.

A Google News search on " $2 billion" (sorted by date, past 7 days, showing duplicates) returned only 19 result. Only about a half-dozen of them are from establishmen press outlets.

Can anyone imagine a cost explosion like this going unnoticed in a Republican or conservative administration? Neither can I.

Cross-posted at