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Tag Archive: Affordable Care Act

Rule behind the ‘Hobby Lobby’ case was the most commented

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scales of justiceToday, the Supreme Court announced that it agreed to hear two cases around the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act. The SCOTUSblog writes:

The Court granted review of a government case (Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, 13-354) and a private business case (Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, 13-356). Taking the Conestoga plea brought before the Court the claim that both religious owners of a business and the business itself have religious freedom rights. The Hobby Lobby case was keyed to rights under RFRA.

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How Much Did Healthcare.gov Actually Cost?

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The new healthcare exchange site has been the topic of several news stories these past few weeks. Many of them are quoting vastly different numbers for how much it cost to build. You'd think that sites like USASpending.gov or the Federal IT Dashboard1 would be able to give us some idea. But in reality, that's just not how federal spending is reported. healthcare_ladyMuch of government spending is bundled into huge contracts called IDIQs (indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity) that are meant to span many years and may go to multiple recipients. They're a lot like regular contracts except they can have very vague requirements and once the IDIQ itself has been competed, the government no longer has any requirement to compete any contract within that IDIQ. CGI Federal has one of these IDIQ contracts with the Department of Health and Human services. It was signed in 2007, long before the Affordable Care Act became law, and lasts until 2017. Within each IDIQ, the government creates purchase or task orders for specific services, which you can find in the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS). You can see a list of all the task orders for the CGI Federal IDIQ here. Given a few constraints (was the task order post-ACA? does the description sound like it might contribute to healthcare.gov?) I highlighted in blue my guesses at what task orders might be related to healthcare.gov. I think my guesses err on the over-inclusive side. Even so, if you add them up, it's about $70 million. That's not unheard of for a government website and it's certainly far lower than the $600 million cost that has been reported in some places. But the fact that we can't figure it out shows the dire state of federal spending transparency.

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