NYT Editorial Board: GOP Investigations of Obamacare’s Failed Exchanges Are a Form of “Harassment”

Whitehouse.govWhitehouse.govLike half the states that attempted to build their own exchanges under Obamacare, Maryland botched the job. And now it’s the latest state to come under investigation for blowing some $135 million in federal grants on an exchange that, to this day, still does not work. The Baltimore Sun reports:

A federal inspector general is launching a review into what went wrong with Maryland's health insurance exchange, the first examination focused specifically on how millions of dollars in federal money was spent by the state, according to the lawmaker who requested the probe.

Rep. Andy Harris, a Baltimore County Republican and vocal opponent of President Barack Obama's health care law, said officials with the inspector general for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had contacted him and indicated they will look into the creation of the state's glitch-prone exchange.

The probe, which Harris said would likely begin in a matter of weeks, is the first of its kind to be revealed publicly.

The Government Accountability Office is already looking into how Oregon managed to spend more than $300 million in federal exchange funding on an online enrollment system that is, for all practical purposes, completely broken; the GAO operation may expand into other states as well.

There have been calls for investigations at the state-level as well. A state auditor said at the beginning of the year that there would be an investigation of Minnesota’s exchanges, which also had a slew of technical problems. The state Republican party in Vermont is also pushing for an investigation of its exchange.

That so many of the enthusiastically embraced the health law experienced so many troubles with their exchanges might suggest that there serious systemic management and administration issues within the blue states that tried and failed to build the online marketplaces—and that it’s probably worth investigating what went wrong.

But if you ask The New York Times editorial board, it’s Republicans pushing for investigations who are really at fault. GOP leaders, the paper’s editorial page complains, “are doing little to solve the difficulties and are instead threatening to recover money not yet spent on enrolling people, and harassing state officials with requests for information about the salaries and vacation time of directors of the state exchanges.”

So requests for information about the actions of senior officials in charge of implementing large programs and attempts to stop payment on failed government projects now constitute a form of “harassment?” Alternatively, one might refer to this as “oversight,” or even just basic administrative competence and responsibility. But for at least some of the health law's supporters, it appears increasingly difficult to favor those things and Obamacare at the same time.  

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  • ||

    So requests for information and attempts to stop payment on failed government projects now constitute a form of “harassment?”

    DO NOT LOOK BEHIND THE CURTAIN.

  • Drake||

    The most transparent administration in history.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Utterly and completely contemptible. What should Congress do, totally ignore the effects of a new law? Pass it and move on? I bet they've said exactly the opposite when the law came from the other side.

    The media is worse than useless when it picks a side and distorts everything to support it.

  • ||

    You had it five words in.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Fucked we are, yes, hmmmmm.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Utterly and completely contemptible. What

    Four.

  • wwhorton||

    "Utterly and completely contemptible, wot?"

    I reread that in an upper-class British twit of the year voice and it totally worked.

  • Idle Hands||

    What's hilarious to me is the government shutdown was all about delaying this for a year and was all OMG DOOM!!!!, which Obama ended up doinganyway. I think this might be one of the least reported antecedents yet.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Well that was different. That was the legislature trying to change a law. That's treason. This is the executive trying to change a law. That's just common sense.

  • ||

    They had good intentions! How dare you question their good intentions by investigating their incompetence!

  • Hugh Akston||

    When the Emperor uses his revenue collectors to investigate and hamstring political rivals, that's a fake scandal. But when the loyal opposition investigates budgets and technical issues of government entities, that's harassment. Are we clear now?

  • ||

    Political rivals are, by definition, not The State. So, yes, we're clear.

  • LynchPin1477||

    I'm still not clear on what type of harassment this is. What lens of victimization should I be viewing this through?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Tea Party groups were attempting to organize as charities when they were in fact political groups. The IRS was following the law (a lousy law but a law nonetheless).

    Fake scandal it is. And always will be. Gin up a different one because this one won't fly.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Still waiting to hear about the IRS auditing that one huge political group that organized itself as a 501(c)(4). You know, the one that operates out of the White House. (Hint: It's Organizing for Action aka the Obama Campaign, that has yet to apply for 501(c)(4) certification despite registering as such).

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Of course. People routinely invoke the fifth before congress when there is no scandal.

  • Homple||

    I'll say this for the ass-stopper, he shows up for work here nearly every day and does his best, such as it is.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Soros's love for rounding up Jews, IRS's targeting of Tea Party, fake scandals all.

    soros.org

  • R C Dean||

    Tea Party groups were attempting to organize as charities when they were in fact political groups.

    The usual wrongness from the the Plug.

    A 501(c)(4) is a non-profit, not a charity. Political groups can be non-profits. The TP was following the law, but the IRS slow-played and harassed them in a discriminatory fashion, which isn't, to my mind, following the law.

  • ||

    Have you noticed that OFA is a 501(c)(4)?

    Greenpeace is a 501(c)(3).
    NYPIRG is a 501(c)(3).
    The Tides Foundaiton is a 501 (c)(3).

    You're just mad that the Republicans are getting in on the game.

  • ||

    And jftr:

    http://tinyurl.com/ckjmqnv

    Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.

  • Tim||

    Vermont flushed over $80 million with contractor CGI and our Governor, Peter Shumlin called it a "nothing burger" when asked about it at a press conference. Shumlin is chair of the Democratic Governors Association and it turns out CGI donated generously to them.

  • LynchPin1477||

    It will seem like a nothing burger once the price tag comes in for his single payer system.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    If there's one thing I learned from 22 years in Vermont, it's that $80 million is so little money it couldn't possibly have done any good for anyone. That's only $133 per person! How do you expect them to do anything for that kind of change?

  • Juice||

    Well, if $80 million is a nothing burger, my total tax bill is a nothing sesame seed and you won't be needing it this year (or next).

  • RishJoMo||

    Dude makes no sense at all man.

    www.Anon-VPN.com

  • Idle Hands||

    This whole thing is laughable, either CGI performed their contract to the specifications and met the projects goals or they committed criminal fraud. Judging by the lack of ire directed at them from this administration, I'm going to guess the latter. Which is utterly hilarious and displays one the largest procurement fuck-ups of all time.

  • Paul.||

    This whole thing is laughable, either CGI performed their contract to the specifications and met the projects goals or they committed criminal fraud

    Or they're just wholly incompetent. Or they're semi-competent and built the system to the government's specifications.

  • Idle Hands||

    Even if they were wholly incompetent the way, as I understand and seen, procurement works is they would have to meet certain requirements to collect any payment. So rest assured it was built completely to spec.

  • Drake||

    Or, their leaders are well-connected with the Administration. And the bureaucrats running the program are too incompetent to even understand the contract specifications, much less determine if CGI fulfilled the contract.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    My freaking boss is always harassing me. He sends me emails and even comes over to my desk to check on my progress. I'm calling Jesse Jackson.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    “are doing little to solve the difficulties and are instead threatening to recover money not yet spent on enrolling people, and harassing state officials with requests for information about the salaries and vacation time of directors of the state exchanges.”

    BigGov's not as much fun when it's fucking you, is it, NYT?

  • R C Dean||

    The NYT seems to be claiming that the way to solve the HIE problems is to do no investigation or identification of what the root causes might be, but just . . . . what?

    Oh, I know. Throw more money at it.

  • Mainer2||

    Like the original $135 million, that money goes to the politically connected...so, not wasted.

  • ||

    Shorter NYT:

    We fucked up and NOW YOU'RE BEING MEAN! *cry*

  • wwhorton||

    Just because I've never Godwinned a thread before:

    "Now look. We've already decided to send these Jews to Auschwitz, so you might as well help us get these trains running on time instead of harassing government officials!"

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