The federal government has spent nearly $5 billion to establish federal and state exchanges for Obamacare, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).
The funding was provided by a section of the Affordable Care Act that allowed for “indefinite” funding at the discretion of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is incurring significant administrative costs to support [federally-facilitated exchanges] FFE operations,” the report, which was released earlier this month, said.
According to CMS, the government spent $456 million to support “exchange operations” between fiscal years 2010 and 2012, before the law went into effect. In 2013 the government spent $1.545 billion for administrative costs associated with the exchanges, and expects to spend an additional $1.390 million this year. The agency has requested another $1.788 billion for 2015.
The law enabled HHS to distribute multiple grants to states to plan and establish exchanges. Initial planning grants were valued at $1 million, though multiple rounds of “exchange establishment grants” cost much more, totaling $4.6 billion.