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Report: ObamaCare exchanges costing $558M

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FILE: Undated: a woman fills out a form related to her medical history, at Georgetown University Hospital, in Washington, D.C. (REUTERS)

A new report on the economic and regulatory burden of ObamaCare shows the health care law’s so-called insurance “exchanges” has resulted in the federal government spending an additional $558 million and 16.6 million more hours on paperwork.

“These results should not be surprising,” American Action Forum, a conservative advocacy group, said in its report released on Wednesday. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a “massive piece of legislation … . It is clear that this ‘fundamental reform’ has produced more red tape, additional complexity and higher costs.”

The additional costs and paperwork are within the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency handling the bulk of the law's implementation. And the amounts are from 2010 through 2016, according to the report.

The report also finds ObamaCare -- set Tuesday to let millions of Americans start buying government-subsidized insurance through the exchanges -- has generated 40 new forms and result in $3 billion in regulatory costs to states and private entities. 

Officials have argued that Americans will be required to fill out only a fraction of the new forms.

And President Obama, even as recently as Tuesday, continued to say all Americans will be better off when the 20 percent of the U.S. population without insurance starts getting coverage.

“I can tell you right now that in many states across the country, if you’re say a 27-year-old young woman, don’t have health insurance, you get on that exchange, you’re going to be able to purchase high quality health insurance for less than the cost of your cellphone bill,” he said.

Among the changes that is resulting in additional HHS costs and work hours is the task of assisting Americans in navigating the exchanges, which offer five levels of coverage. 

The group estimates that alone will require 667,740 additional hours of work and cost an extra $39.1 million.

The group also found ObamaCare has resulted in 126.8 million hours of additional paperwork for all Cabinet agencies involved in the 2010 law's creation and implementation, according to the report, which the group says is based on Obama administration data.

“Despite the many delays, administrative lapses and staggering costs, few have examined the regulatory burdens of the new health care exchanges,” the group said.