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Wednesday
Jun192013

GAO Says Exchanges Will Be Ready By...Um, Well, We're Not Sure

From a new report out today by the Government Accountability Office on how the federal and state ObamaCare exchanges are progressing:

 

Much progress has been made, but much remains to be accomplished within a relatively short amount of time. [The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’] timelines provide a roadmap to completion; however, factors such as the still-evolving scope of CMS’s required activities in each state and the many activities yet to be performed—some close to the start of enrollment—suggest a potential for challenges going forward. And while the missed interim deadlines may not affect implementation, additional missed deadlines closer to the start of enrollment could do so. CMS recently completed risk assessments and plans for mitigating risks associated with the data hub, and is also working on strategies to address state preparedness contingencies. Whether these efforts will assure the timely and smooth implementation of the exchanges by October 2013 cannot yet be determined. Much progress has been made, but much remains to be accomplished within a relatively short amount of time. CMS’s timelines provide a roadmap to completion; however, factors such as the still-evolving scope of CMS’s required activities in each state and the many activities yet to be performed—some close to the start of enrollment—suggest a potential for challenges going forward. And while the missed interim deadlines may not affect implementation, additional missed deadlines closer to the start of enrollment could do so. CMS recently completed risk assessments and plans for mitigating risks associated with the data hub, and is also working on strategies to address state preparedness contingencies. Whether these efforts will assure the timely and smooth implementation of the exchanges by October 2013 cannot yet be determined.
That can be GAO-speak for “we have no idea how this will turn out.”  It may also mean “big problems ahead, folks,” or in this specific case, “get ready for a Third-World experience.”  One thing about GAO reports is the authors and editors have mastered the art of relaying bad news with the gentlest of rhetoric.
Photo: iStockphoto

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