States' insurance exchange websites cost taxpayers $1B; contractors often paid to do same job in different states

Price of Obamacare: State health exchanges co... 02:52

(CBS News), the federal Obamacare website, isn't the only website with issues following the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. There are also problems in the states that set up their own websites using taxpayer dollars.

Sources tell CBS News that the 15 states that have set up their own insurance exchanges used more than $1 billion to pay for their own Obamacare websites. That huge price tag, CBS News' Jan Crawford reported on "CBS This Morning," is being paid for by the federal government -- courtesy of taxpayers -- and some of these websites have also struggled to get off the ground.

Special section: Health care in America

With unusable for most, administration officials have pointed to efforts in the states and called it a success. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, "They are eager to enroll folks and that that is going smoothly."

But people in some of those states may disagree with how smoothly it's going. One thing's for sure: the federal tax dollars are pouring in. A CBS News analysis shows that the 15 states that opted to set up their own exchanges are spending more than $1.1 billion to launch and implement their own websites, often paying the same government contractors to do the same job in different states.

California has dedicated $359 million, while New York is spending $161 million. In Kentucky it's $100 million, and in Oregon the price tag is $50 million.

The president has pointed to Oregon, which has enrolled 56,000 people in Medicaid - to argue things are working. "That's 56,000 more Americans who now have health care," the president has said. "That doesn't depend on a website."

And it's a good thing, because Oregon's website doesn't work. The new Medicaid enrollments came through the mail. The state website has yet to enroll a single person.

Clay Johnson, a former member of President Obama's technology team, said, "What we've done is we've created systems that enable this level of waste."

Johnson blames federal rules that favor large government contractors who win out over and over, such as CGI that won bids in five different states to help develop their websites. CGI is the same company now under fire for its role as lead contractor for the federal website. Johnson said, "If CGI Federal had contracts with five different states, something tells me that they got paid five times for some of the same code."

CGI has had better luck in some of the states, such as Kentucky, and other states say their websites are now well under way. "But," Crawford said on "CTM," "it goes back to the money, and why are taxpayers are forking over more than a billion dollars on 15 different state websites that will end up looking pretty much the same."