The Health Care Number of the Day – $8.7 Million

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That’s how much the federal government has spent to date on, the new consumer web site that pulls together information about the Affordable Care Act and insurance options available to the public.

I’ve praised the web site for being easy to use and for including a gigantic amount of information about private and public insurance plans which have, until now, not been accessible in one place online. The Department of Health and Human Services amassed and organized the data and factual information on in about six months and no doubt spent a premium on outside contracts who could design the web site and gather data quickly. The site is, in some ways, a preview of what health insurance exchanges might look like when they are up and running by 2014.

Jessica Santillo, a spokesperson for HHS, said about 25% of the $8.7 million was spent building the web site, while the remainder covered costs associated with collecting and organizing the data. Santillo said, via e-mail, “We expect that this increased transparency will help promote accountability for insurers and inspire robust competition in the insurance marketplace – competition that can help improve quality and control costs for consumers.”

What do you think, Swamplanders? Worth the investment?