House Republicans say a federal health official intentionally misled Congress when he said the government had recovered $200 million worth of state-based exchange grant money--a claim the Obama administration disputes.
A report from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce claims that during a hearing last December, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt misstated the amount of grant money that had been returned to the Treasury and wrongfully implied that the funds were returned because of improper spending. The report says that rather than $200 million, only $21.5 million has actually been recovered from exchanges.
The Obama administration says Slavitt was talking about funds returned from all states, including the 34 states that returned funds because they never set up their own Affordable Care Act marketplaces to begin with, according to The Hill. The House committee's report, though, argues that for states that never set up their own ACA marketplaces, the remaining balance returned to the Treasury was not a result of CMS' oversight actions, but rather the state's own decision to not establish an exchange, thus forfeiting the grants.
If CMS is properly conducting oversight of the state-based exchanges, "the agency should be at the ready to provide timely and accurate information to Congress, especially with regard to how taxpayer dollars are spent and recovered," the commitee members write in their report.
Republican lawmakers have also criticized CMS' oversight of the struggling consumer operated and oriented plans, saying the agency approved loans for the small insurers despite signs of financial instability.