Affordable Care Act centers should be investigated after allegations

05/27/2014 4:48 PM

06/03/2014 10:17 AM

Stories are emerging of possible waste and mismanagement at at least two centers that opened to process applications for the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges.

Former employees at one center, in Wentzville, Mo., say they were paid to do little or no work, and were told to look busy when officials from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services visited. The federal agency awarded a five-year, $1.2 billion contract to Serco Inc., a processing and security company, to handle health insurance applications that were on paper and mailed rather than submitted online.

Workers at another center in London, Ky., have made similar allegations.

Republicans on Capitol Hill, and some Democrats, too, are properly demanding to know whether federal administrators knew of the waste taking place, and what they are going to do about the situation.

Serco has defended its performance, saying its workers processed more than 1 million applications from Oct. 1 through April 30.

Still, enough former workers are speaking out to suggest the centers were poorly managed.

Federal agencies charged with making the new health care law work must do a better job of monitoring contractors and subcontractors.

The Affordable Care Act has enough challenges to fend off without providing legitimate ammunition for critics.

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