At least something works in Obamacare β€” the check-writing.

The administration has spent $4.4 billion helping states set up their health insurance exchanges, more than half a billion in just the last four months. Topping the list is California with a whopping $910 million so far, and expected to spend over $1 billion in U.S. tax dollars.

The latest tally comes from Americans for Tax Reform and is taken from the spending map provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It totaled $4.4 billion in federal tax dollars to states. Secrets did a previous review in July and found that the administration has spent $3.8 billion.

State-run health care websites have had better luck signing up new Obamacare members. The blundering federal website cost about $175 million so far, and it’s being totally redone to make it work.

Secrets reported that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has provided several types of grants for states to hire workers, buy equipment and conduct surveys to determine how big a bureaucracy is needed to serve uninsured workers. The three key grants are planning grants, "Level 1 grants," and "Level 2 grants."

Based on the grant-spending pattern, the setup costs could easily top $5 billion when the full system is set up. Under Obamacare, federal grants help states set up their exchanges, which are eventually taken over and funded by states. A fact sheet said that grants will be available through 2014.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at