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Feds investigating Hawaii Health Connector, Slom says

By Kristen Consillio

LAST UPDATED: 04:01 p.m. HST, Apr 17, 2014

State Sen. Sam Slom says the U.S. Government Accountability Office will investigate the Hawaii Health Connector's use of $204 million in federal grants.

Slom (R, Diamond Head-Hawaii Kai) complained in March to the GAO, an independent, nonpartisan agency that investigates federal government spending for Congress, that Hawaii had spent more than $80 million on information technology contracts on a website that didn't work.

The bulk of the IT contracts went to embattled contractor CGI Group Inc., the same company that built the problematic federal exchange. Hawaii had the lowest enrollment rate in the country at fewer than 8,000 as of the deadline to enroll on March 31. The Connector has extended enrollment to April 30 for people who tried but couldn't complete the application process.

Slom said that in response to his letter dated March 27, the GAO said it will include Hawaii in its investigations of six other states that received federal grants to build health insurance exchanges, the cornerstone of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

The agency will investigate whether the Connector followed procedures regarding the use of federal funds as well as issues pertaining to security, Slom said.

A representative of the GAO couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.

Slom said in a news release that taxpayers and legislators should be outraged by the Connector's lack of planning and money management, adding that "this is not a partisan issue, this is an economic issue."

Officials from Hawaii's health exchange have said the exchange is not financially sustainable. The Legislature is considering supporting the exchange through funds or a fee to insurance companies.

Connector officials said they had not yet heard about the investigation Thursday, although they responded to information requests from the GAO in February.

"The Connector has not received any recent requests from the GAO," executive director Tom Matusda said in a statement. "However, the Connector will respond appropriately to any request from the GAO." 


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Chiburu wrote:
I hope they investigate Coral Andrews too. She held the post as the Executive Director for 2 years spending part of the Fed's $200 million. She shouldn't be able to simply step down from that position and go scot-free. She needs to be accountable for the failure too - especially since: Senate President Donna Mercado Kim said during a recent hearing that she had warned Andrews not to hire CGI Group because the company also had developed the troubled $87 million Hawaii state tax department website, which the state must spend as much as $50 million to fix.
on April 17,2014 | 03:51PM
eoe wrote:
Ruh roh.
on April 17,2014 | 04:13PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Hope to see a perp walk someday. This disaster did not happen in a vacuum. People knew it would flop and fail to meet standards but they said nothing and act like the goat rope was an act of God. Root them out and hold them accountable for squandering over $200 million of tax money.
on April 17,2014 | 04:25PM
CEI wrote:
Maneki_Neko - Sad to say no government officials will ever be held accountable for this giant waste of taxpayer money. The people that ran this "goat rope" as you so aptly put it were so giddy with the prospect of controlling access to health care that they failed to look out for our money and took everything on faith. At the end of the day they will be judged for their good intentions instead of their failures. And the people will eventually forget that their government is incompetent. They will continue to elect politicians that tell them what they want to hear every election season.
on April 17,2014 | 05:22PM
headcheese wrote:
That 204 million dollars could have paid for healthcare for Hawaii's uninsured instead of using it to try to sell it to them. They got some 'splaining to do. Mahalo, Sam Slom! I am not always a fan of Sam Slom's ideas, but he hit the nail on the head this time. As I am a committed liberal, it is vital to watch the money and not spend it foolishly.
on April 17,2014 | 04:46PM
Wazdat wrote:
Someone or company took the money and ran....What a complete JOKE
on April 17,2014 | 05:22PM
soundofreason wrote:
"Slom said in a news release that taxpayers and legislators should be outraged by the Connector's lack of planning and money management, adding that "this is not a partisan issue, this is an economic issue." >> Actually, it's a State issue - status quo.
on April 17,2014 | 06:39PM
9ronboz wrote:
It's like Obama auditing Abercrombie
on April 17,2014 | 08:18PM
HealthyandHappy wrote:
Stop the looting vote for republican state legislators.
on April 17,2014 | 10:09PM
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