Why am I not surprised that the CA exchange found themselves about 20% over budget? Their budget was just under $400 million of which about 1/4 was for outreach (a/k/a advertising).
They spent $1.37 million on an outreach program featuring Richard Simmons.
One of their state senators is calling for an audit of the agency.
Covered California faces a $78 million deficit during the next fiscal year due to cutbacks in federal funding. Gaines learned of the $1.37 million campaign cost from Watchdog.org. He had previously sought to obtain the information from Covered California Director Peter Lee, but received no response.
“What a waste of money — oh, my gosh,” state Sen. Ted Gaines said in an interview. “I looked at the video and was blown away that they would spend money on that. And for them to think that people would want to sign up for health insurance from seeing it? Give me a break.”