The federal agency in charge of Obamacare paid insurers almost $2.8 billion last year without adequate controls in place to make sure the money was being properly disbursed, according to an internal watchdog.
Without such "effective internal controls ... a significant amount of federal funds are at risk," said the report issued by the inspector general of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department on Tuesday. (Tweet This)
The report found that the controls in place "were not effective" for calculating the amount of money insurers were owed and for authorizing the payments made to them.
In response Wednesday, two leading Republican senators wrote to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services with questions about issues cited in the report, saying they were "deeply troubled" by them.
"If these types of results continue it foreshadows a substantial programmatic vulnerability leading to untold billions in fraud, waste and abuse," wrote Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Utah's Sen. Orrin Hatch, head of the Finance Committee.
The IG's report focuses on money given insurers during the first four months of 2014 by CMS, the division of HHS that oversees Obamacare. That period was the first time that Obamacare plans were in effect.
CMS is responsible for paying insurers tax credits that offset the cost of premiums for customers of Obamacare marketplaces. Most customers of those government-run exchanges qualify for such subsidies because they have low or moderate incomes.