Obamacare contractor paid $1.2 billion to do nothing

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Employees at a company that received a $1.2 billion Obamacare contract from the federal government are literally being paid to do nothing.[1] The company –Serco – is supposed to be handling Obamacare applications at its processing center in Missouri. One current employee, however, has come forward saying that not only is there not enough applications to go around, but many employees spend the day staring idly at their computer screens.

“They’re told to sit at their computers and hit the refresh button every ten minutes – no more than every ten minutes,” said the employee. “They’re monitored to hopefully look for an application. Their goals are set to process two applications per month and some people are not even able to do that.”

Think about that. There aren’t enough applications for Serco’s employees to process even two each month.

It necessarily begs the question of why Serco doesn’t just fire all these employees. If you’re thinking it has something to do with federal contractors being paid per worker, you’d be right. In other words, Serco won’t fire its idle employees because the more they hire, the more they are reimbursed by the government.

It’s worth taking a deeper look at Serco. Its parent company, Serco Group, is based in the United Kingdom. And as of July 2013, the Washington Post was reporting[2] on the British government investigation Serco for overbilling the government by “tens of millions of pounds.”  At that time, the Post was also gleefully reporting[3] on Serco’s plans “to hire 1,500 workers to handle any paper applications for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.”

As a company whose business is “paper pushing,” 90 percent of Serco’s work comes from contracts with federal government agencies.  But here’s the real gem: “The company’s annual revenue from the federal government is $1.2 billion. This would bring in another $1.2 billion over the course of five years, a big boost to the firm.”

A big boost? A 100 percent increase in billings to the federal government – which already accounts for 90 percent of Serco’s revenue – is more than just a “big boost.”

There’s no wonder why Serco wasn’t, and still isn’t, rushing to clean house despite the lack of work. Yet in the world of bureaucracy-run health care, this isn’t surprising. When government takes over an industry, success means taking money, keeping quiet, and covering up inefficiencies and lack of quality. Serco exists within a government bubble, and apparently has a messy track record with our British allies. Obamacare is only pushing that bubble under a microscope, and explaining why the federal government is the absolute worst choice to run the health care industry.