Obamacare Overruns

July 31, 2014 - 3:53 AM

Eye Glaze Alert! This edition of Mullings is about the Federal Budget Deficit. There will be numbers involved. You have been warned.

From the National Journal's website: "The Obama administration has spent roughly $840 million on HealthCare.gov, including more than $150 million just in cost overruns for the version that failed so badly when it launched last year."

$840 million for a website is somewhat more than I spent on Mullings. About $839,998,250 more. By the way, Mullings was mostly written by Chuck DeFeo who is now the Chief Digital Officer for the Republican National Committee, so you can plainly see how crucial his association with Mullings has been to his career.

Along with cold snaps in June proving global warming is a farce, and 90,000 children from Central America showing up for the August recess, nothing gets the Republican base as amped up as a story about how much more Obamacare is costing than was originally projected.

When the Government Accountability Office- - better known as the GAO -- released that number, it was like finding a Kenyan birth certificate with the name "Barry Obama" written in official Swahili.

Before you go running out into the street shouting "I TOLD YOU SO," consider that while $840 million ain't legumes, neither is it the beginning of the end of the world.

For example, the Congressional Budget Office's semi-annual report this past April suggested the federal budget deficit for fiscal year 2014 (that ends on September 30, 2014) will be about $492 billion.

$492 billion is a very lot of money. In fact it is 585.7 times MORE than $840 million. Want more? The total national debt...

SIDEBAR

The Federal Deficit is an annual figure that shows how much more the government is spending in that year than it is taking in.

The National Debt is the sum of all the years of Federal Deficits.

WHIP is a baseball statistic for pitchers meaning "Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched." I just stuck that in because I had to look it up the other day and I wanted to show off.

END SIDEBAR

...national debt is, as I am writing this, about $17.6 Trillion. $17.6 Trillion is almost 21 THOUSAND times more than $840 million.

See what I mean?

The important point here is that we don't get ourselves wrapped around the axle of Obamacare over this $840 million. I don't think much of Obamacare, but this is an important example - another example - of the failure of President Obama to pay attention to what was - and still is - going on in his Administration.

It would be perfectly acceptable to do an ad against every Democrat running for re-election to the House or Senate who voted for Obamacare comparing $840,000,000 to, say, the median income for a family of four in the United States.

Although it is dependent upon who is doing the counting, it is fair to suggest that the median income for a family of four in 2014 in the United States is just south of $54,000. This number varies very widely depending upon what state you study, but for the purposes of this discussion, let's stipulate it's the same everywhere.

$840 million would provide the total income for 15,556 American families who are at the median.

And it was wasted on a busted website.

Which is still not completed. According to the GAO report: "Rep. Fred Upton, the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, noted that key pieces of the HealthCare.gov system-including the part that pays insurance companies-still haven't been built."

Oh, the part that pays insurance companies: That means either the insurance companies will simply write off what they haven't been able to collect under Obamacare or they will raise everyone's rates to make up the difference.

Which one do you think it will be?

The switch to turn on Obamacare was flipped on October 1, 2013. We are now 10 months into this and there are still major pieces that haven't been "built."

The GAO report states that the management of the building of Healthcare.gov was so ridden with holes that "task orders" - instructions to a contractor not formally set forth in the original paperwork - were being issued "when key technical requirements were still unknown."

That would be like hiring an architect to design a building and ordering changes to that building before you knew what the building was going to be used for.

All of this is interesting, but when those insurance companies that haven't been paid begin to reset their rates for 2015 -- beginning as early as October 2014 -- this GAO report will seem like a whisper in a tornado.

Obamacare Overruns will end up where these thing always end up - costing the average American more money.

On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the National Journal coverage of the GAO report, to the CBO's semi-annual report on the budget; and to the page from which I got the median income data. Also, a very excellent Mullfoto of The Lad and me in Austin this week following the Steve Martin concert.