A new Government Accountability Office report says the primary agency charged with ObamaCare’s implementation can’t verify how much it’s spending to promote the controversial health law.
ObamaCare’s in-house marketing job is the responsibility of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), an arm of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
CMS is the federal agency primarily responsible for implementing ObamaCare, which includes doling out millions of dollars through CCIIO to hire outside consultants to conduct “polling, focus groups or advertising and other public relations activities,” according to the GAO report.
Apparently, though, no one at CMS or CCIIO knows how much money has been spent on these activities from 2010 to 2013.
GAO also faults CMS for not producing information detailing how many staff members were reassigned to CCIIO from other units.
For context, GAO could confirm other elements of CCIIO’s budget impact. The agency’s total obligations for the 2014 fiscal year “was $3.7 billion; the number of staff as of September 30, 2013, which was 347; and total salary expenditures from March 2010 through fiscal year 2013, which were $79.8 million.”
The failure of CMS to account accurately for its spending and staffing to promote a taxpayer-funded program raises red flags about the agency’s management.
Does CMS’s refusal to itemize its spending on ObamaCare’s ad campaign indicate the agency would rather not reveal which firms and experts it hired? Perhaps the pool is dominated by liberal cronies. Or maybe no-bid contracts with little return on investment. It could be both.