Austin Hill

How do companies make millions of dollars with a really bad idea?

They advise state governments on how to comply with federal Obamacare mandates, and then help the states build new websites.

The subject of Obamacare scarcely came up as a topic in the recent election, and it remains overwhelmingly unpopular. Yet it is already costing taxpayers lots of money, and has created a whole new stream of corporate welfare.

The President’s “if you like your Doctor, you can keep your Doctor” promise and his pledge to “bend the healthcare cost curve downward” are both fiction. What is non-fiction, however, is the fact that state governments are paying private consulting firms big bucks to lay the groundwork for our nation’s new healthcare bureaucracies. Among the beneficiaries of the new government spending are both Democrats, and Republicans, and they’re scooping-up taxpayer dollars in both Red and Blue states.

Chief among the concerns of individual state governments has been figuring out how to comply with the “health insurance exchange” mandate that has been imposed by the feds. And what, precisely, is a “health insurance exchange” anyway? Most of the consultants can’t actually say with certainty what any particular state’s “health insurance exchange” should consist of (a point on which I’ll elaborate later). But generally speaking, the states and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are envisioning that each state would have its own website that lists all the various health insurance policies that are authorized to be bought and sold in that state, along with links to the respective insurance companies’ websites. It’s also likely that each state exchange will include a call center, with a toll-free number where consumers can get their questions answered.

Federal mandates of Obamacare’s magnitude pose new challenges for the states. So many of the states have hired private business consulting firms to figure out how to set up an insurance exchange that complies with the federal requirements, while many other states are soliciting proposals from these companies in anticipation of creating a future exchange.

So how difficult and costly could it be, do you suppose, to set up a website and a call center for the residents of one individual state? In the world of private enterprise, most small to midsize companies doing business within a specific region of the U.S. would be foolish to spend much more than a hundred thousand dollars for their customer service website and the infrastructure for a call center, and in many cases the project could be completed for much less.

Austin Hill

Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.