by Jillian Kay Melchior | National Review Online (via Watchdog.org)
Democrats spent much of the recession pushing us to “Buy American” — a sentiment based much less in solid economics than in union politics. But be that as it may, apparently the Department of Health and Human Services didn’t get the message, judging from the foreign origins of five of the companies awarded contracts to work on the Obamacare health exchanges — including the two most lucrative ones.
The Obama administration and congressional Democrats look hypocritical for allowing foreign firms to play such a significant role in the implementation of their most significant policy in decades. And while free-marketeers are quick to note that Buy American clauses limit competition and drive up costs, justification for using these particular foreign companies for the insurance exchanges remains lacking.
It would be one thing if these companies had secured the contracts because they were more competent than their American competitors — but as Healthcare.gov flounders, it becomes harder and harder to believe these bids were the best options available.
Nevertheless, as I reported recently, Serco, a British multinational with a terrible history abroad, was awarded a $1.249 billion contract — the largest awarded under the so-called Affordable Care Act — to process paper applications for the insurance exchanges. That contract has since been upped to $1.336 billion, an $87 million increase.
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