Hawaii’s ObamaCare ride has wiped out. The state’s exchange is drowning in their own debt and is set to shutdown by September 30. Administrators had been hoping to get a funding boost from state lawmakers, during their current legislative session, but that will not happen.
“Now that it is clear that the state will not provide sufficient support for the Hawaii Health Connector’s operations through fiscal year 2016 (ending June 30, 2016), the Connector can no longer operate in a manner that would cause it to incur additional debts or other obligations for which it is unable to pay,” Connector officials said in a report released Friday to the nonprofit’s board of directors.
According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the state’s ObamaCare exchange “will cease new enrollments Friday, discontinue outreach services May 31 and transfer its technology to the state by Sept. 30.” All of the exchange’s employees will be terminated by February 28, 2016. Including permanent, temporary and contract staff.
In March the state was notified that the Hawaii exchange “was out of compliance with the Affordable Care Act,” because “the Connector wasn’t financially sustainable at the start of this year and wasn’t integrated with the Medicaid system, which determines eligibility for subsidies and tax credits obtained through the exchange.” Consequently, the feds “restricted grant money to support the Connector and moved to take over its IT functions to allow residents to enroll in coverage through the federal marketplace.”
The exchange enrolled roughly 37,000 Hawaiians, but needs to enroll 70,000 in order to sustain itself. Like in some other states, Hawaii’s program is funded by a fee on each policy. In this case 2 percent, with an increase to 3.5 percent this July. The Connector needed an additional $5.4 million in order to continue operations, a number they could not reach.
Medicaid in the Aloha State is also at risk.
An estimated $1 billion in federal funds for Medicaid is also in jeopardy if the technology used to determine eligibility for tax credits cannot connect to the federal marketplace by November, the start of open enrollment, Rachael Wong, director of the state Department of Human Services, which administers Medicaid, told board members.
Because the Connector doesn’t have enough money to keep the state-based marketplace active, the federal government has the right to cut off Medicaid funding under the ACA. Medicaid, which serves more than 300,000 residents, costs more than $2 billion a year, about half of which is funded by the federal government and half by the state.
How much has this failed exchange cost the taxpayers? A staggering $204.3 million.
Even Democrats in Hawaii have some serious concerns about moving to the federal ObamaCare system.
State Senator Roz Baker, a Democrat, said, “All I know is healthcare. gov doesn’t work,” and “we have to take the best calculated risk. There’s a lot of unrealistic expectations.”
ObamaCare is all about “unrealistic expectations,” senator. With this latest failure will others notice?
How many other state with exchanges have to fail in order for legislators to realize they don’t work? Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Minnesota, Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont have exchanges that have failed or are teetering on insolvency.
Hawaii just happens to be the latest ObamaCare wipe out!