GAO to investigate Hawaii Health Connector money

Published On: Apr 17 2014 01:18:17 PM HST   Updated On: Apr 17 2014 01:27:41 PM HST
Hawaii Health Connector

The Government Accountability Office confirmed on Wednesday it will investigate the Hawaii Health Connector's use of $204 million of federal grant money, according to Sen. Sam Slom.

In response to Slom's letter (dated March 27, 2014), David Lewis of the GAO, confirmed that the GAO will include Hawaii in their investigations into the use of federal grant monies to state exchanges.  Hawaii will now join six other states being investigated for their health insurance exchanges.

Lewis confirmed the GAO will investigate whether the Hawaii Health Connector followed procedures relating to the use of federal funds as well as issues pertaining to security.

Lewis indicated to Sen. Slom that is not common for the GAO to respond to issues presented to them by state representatives.

"The fact that the GAO does not usually take up issues referred to them by state representatives reflects the serious nature of the issues surrounding the Hawaii's Health Connector, and its failure to act in a transparent manner," said Slom.

Slom said that taxpayers and legislators should be outraged by the Connector's lack of planning and money management.

"This is not a partisan issue, this is an economic issue," said Slom.

Tom Matusda, the head of the Hawaii Health Connector, said the exchange needs about $4.7 million in 2015 and up to $9 million in 2016 to be financially viable.

The Department of Human Services told lawmakers on Wednesday the agency may seek about $4.5 million from the Legislature next year to cover money owed by the health exchange.

Director Patricia McManaman told senators the department would probably pay back the state if it asks for the funds.

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