Feds to probe troubled state exchanges

The Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, will look at what went wrong with several state exchanges, including Oregon's, which failed to deliver despite large infusions of federal money. Meanwhile, a state lawmaker has sued California for refusing to allow consumers with canceled health policies to keep them, and Florida has a high rate of uninsured Latinos.

The Associated Press: U.S. Agency To Probe Health Exchanges
The investigative arm of Congress on Wednesday agreed to look into problems with state health exchange websites around the country. The U.S. Government Accountability Office accepted an initial request from a group of House Republicans seeking an audit on how $304 million in federal grants were spent on the Cover Oregon website, which has yet to enroll a single person online without special assistance (3/5).

The Oregonian: Congressional Investigators Will Probe Cover Oregon And Other States' Health Exchanges
The Congressional Government Accountability Office will audit Cover Oregon as part of a larger examination of state-based health insurance exchange projects. Oregon remains the only site in the country that doesn't let the public self-enroll, despite spending more than $210 million in federal grant money so far. U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore) and other House Republicans requested an investigation last month. Oregon's two U.S. Senators, Democrats Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, echoed the request a day later. The GAO won't confine its efforts to just Oregon. It "will undertake this work as part of a broader study planned to examine states' health exchange websites," said a March 5 letter to Walden from GAO congressional relations director Katherine Siggerud (Budnick, 3/5).

Los Angeles Times: State Lawmaker Sues California Health Exchange Over Cancellations
A Republican state lawmaker sued California's health insurance exchange, saying it overstepped its authority by refusing to allow more than 900,000 people to keep their existing health policies (Terhune, 3/5).

Health News Colorado: Accused Embezzler Resigns From Colorado Exchange
Colorado's health exchange has severed ties with a manager who in February was indicted in Montana on federal embezzlement charges. "Connect for Health Colorado has accepted the resignation of Christa McClure, effective today," exchange spokeswoman Myung Oak Kim said in a written statement late Tuesday. Kim said McClure did not receive a severance package and that there are no financial concerns related to her tenure at Connect for Health (McCrimmon, 3/5).

NPR: Florida Has A High Rate Of Latinos Without Health Insurance
Florida doesn't have its own insurance exchange, and it has not expanded Medicaid. In the absence of state outreach efforts, it's up to the insurers and other groups to get the word out to Latinos (Mack, 3/6).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


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