HHS will investigate issues with Maryland's health exchange

Website is 'among the worst performing in the country'

Maryland Rep. Andy Harris (R) on Monday announced that HHS's Office of Inspector General (OIG) will review the state's troubled health insurance exchange website, the Washington Post reports.

Harris and Rep. Jack Kingston (R) in February requested that OIG investigate the site. They charged that the Maryland officials had ignored "warning signs" and "chose to continue to waste and abuse federal taxpayer money by opening up what they knew was a flawed exchange to the public."

According to Politico, Maryland's exchange site is "among the worst performing in the country," enrolling just 39,000 individuals in private plans as of last week.

OIG investigation

On Monday, Harris announced that OIG has agreed to investigate many of the questions he posed in his initial request, including:

  • How the state spent federal funds on the site;
  • How the state hired the contractors involved in developing the site;
  • Who in the state oversaw the project;
  • Whether the federal government can recoup any federal funds; and
  • The site's inability to determine which consumers are eligible for Medicaid enrollment.

Harris told the Post, "I have confidence that the nonpartisan and independent HHS [OIG] will thoroughly investigate and bring to light how hundreds of millions of dollars were wasted on one of the worst exchange rollouts in the country."

Nina Smith, a spokesperson for Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), said that while the state "welcome[s] this review," it is "no mystery what happened: the vendors we hired failed to deliver us the product they promised" (Easley, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/10; Johnson, Washington Post, 3/10; Norman, Politico, 3/10; Witte, AP/Sacramento Bee, 3/10).

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