By Curtis Houck | June 16, 2015 | 9:13 PM EDT
The top English and Spanish networks refused on Tuesday evening to cover the findings of a federal audit report from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) that concluded that just under $3 billion in ObamaCare subsidies have been unable to be properly verified that, according to the audit, puts taxpayer funding “at risk.”
While English-language networks ABC, CBS, and NBC partnered with Spanish-language networks MundoFox, Telemundo and Univision to ignore this story, the Fox News Channel (FNC) program Special Report devoted a one-minute-and-48-second segment to the IG’s findings.
Fill-in anchor Doug McKelway pointed out that the report comes as “we await a Supreme Court decision that could have a huge impact on ObamaCare” and revealed “just how much confusion the President’s health care law is causing with book keepers.”
In a live shot from the White House, correspondent Kevin Corke explained that the 39-page report contained “a number of recommendations about how to deal with a potential accounting gap between what the administration has been paying insurers under ObamaCare and what it may ultimately end up owing.”
Corke detailed how “[t]he problem actually lies in the healthcare.gov web site and its unfinished back end” where insurers are supposed to “communicate enrollee information with [the] federal government,” but have not been fully able to do so to the tune of “almost $2.8 billion in subsidies or tax credits to insurers in just the first four months of 2014.”
Here’s more from the Washington Free Beacon’s (and MRC alum) Elizabeth Harrington:
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released an audit Tuesday finding that the agency did not have an internal system to ensure that subsidies went to the right enrollees, or in the correct amounts.
“[The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] CMS’s internal controls did not effectively ensure the accuracy of nearly $2.8 billion in aggregate financial assistance payments made to insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act during the first four months that these payments were made,” the OIG said.
“CMS’s system of internal controls could not ensure that CMS made correct financial assistance payments,” they said.
The OIG reviewed subsidies paid to insurance companies between January and April 2014. The audit found that CMS did not have a process to “prevent or detect any possible substantial errors” in subsidy payments.
The OIG said the agency did not have a system to “ensure that financial assistance payments were made on behalf of confirmed enrollees and in the correct amounts.”
Instead of covering this troubling development, ABC’s World News Tonight devoted one minute and 16 seconds over the course a tease and full report previewing game six of the NBA Finals and showing video of Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James when he was 16 years old.
DOUG MCKELWAY: As we await a Supreme Court decision that could have a huge impact on ObamaCare, new information on just how much confusion the President’s health care law is causing with book keepers. Correspondent Kevin Corke is at the White House tonight. Good evening, Kevin.
KEVIN CORKE: Hey Doug, good evening to you. The IG report, the Inspector General’s report, is 39-pages-long and in it are a number of recommendations about how to deal with a potential accounting gap between what the administration has been paying insurers under ObamaCare and what it may ultimately end up owing. Now, here’s how it works. The problem actually lies in the healthcare.gov web site and its unfinished back end. That’s the part of the website that allows insurers to communicate enrollee information with federal government, you know, offices, but the problem is it simply hasn’t been completed and so, that means we don’t know how bad is. I mean, the fact is it was even worse back when ObamaCare rolled out back in 2014 and just to give you an idea of the scope we’re dealing with here, the IG reported that the government doled out almost $2.8 billion in subsidies or tax credits to insurers in just the first four months of 2014, back when ObamaCare launched.
WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JOSH EARNEST: The administration takes very seriously the mandate that we have to both be good stewards of taxpayer dollars but also make sure that those citizens across the country who qualified for subsidies that make their health care more affordable, that they get that tax credit.
CORKE: Meanwhile, the HHS is also weighing in on this. Communications Director Megan Smith saying, quote, “we are committed to continuing to improve our processes and will work with the inspector general to implement their recommendations.” Now, we are also told tonight, Doug, that the site review is ongoing and as for that back end fix? They say it is in the works. Back to you.
MCKELWAY: Kevin Corke on the North Lawn. Thank you, Kevin.