The list of contractors that helped implement the White House’s landmark health care reform law includes a who’s-who of top-tier political donors, according to a review by the Sunlight Foundation transparency group.
That implementation process has come under heavy scrutiny recently because of software glitches and long wait times that have plagued HealthCare.gov, the government website designed to connect uninsured people with affordable coverage, since the site’s Oct. 1 launch.
The Sunlight Foundation compiled a list of 47 contractors that worked on aspects of the health care reform implementation, using information from two government contracting sites. The list includes mainstays of federal contracting, such as Northrop Grumman and Booz Allen Hamilton.
A subset of 17 contractors on the list spent $128 million on lobbying in 2011 and 2012, the foundation said, and 29 had employees or political action committees that contributed $32 million to candidates during that election cycle, including nearly $4 million to President Obama.
White House officials have attributed the early HealthCare.gov problems to one part of the website that helps users create accounts and stores information about them. The system wasn’t built to withstand the large volume of people who visited the site in its first days, they said.
The White House has declined to say which vendor was responsible for that system.
Contract descriptions on the websites the Sunlight Foundation mined are often incomplete — especially on USASpending.gov, the site for historical contracting information — so it’s not clear precisely what work most contractors did on behalf of the law’s implementation.
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The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has released its score of the House-passed American Health Care Act, which would replace Obamacare. According to the CBO, the bill would reduce the deficit by $119 billion by 2026, while leaving 14 million more Americans uninsured in 2018 than under current law, a number swelling to 23 million by 2026. Further, insurance premiums would balloon 20 percent in 2018 and five percent in 2019 before the waiver provision in the legislation would kick in. The provision allows states to apply for waivers and permit insurers to offer skimpier plans, which would likely entice younger and healthier individuals to buy health insurance while potentially pricing older and less healthy Americans out of insurance plans. House Republicans approved this bill in late April without waiting for the CBO score.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing that President Donald Trump's budget is little more than recycling bin material. "The budget proposed by the president doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of passing," Graham said. Graham had previously opposed the budget over its nearly 30 percent cut to the budget of the State Department. The budget slashes spending on domestic priorities while increasing military spending.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that he doesn't yet know the formula towards gaining passage of an Obamacare replacement in the Senate. "I don't know how we get to 50 (votes) at the moment. But that's the goal," McConnell said. The House passed an Obamacare replacement bill which has been widely seen as dead on arrival in the Senate, and McConnell has put together a working group of Republican Senators working towards creating health care legislation which could gain the support of at least 50 Senators.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."