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Health Exchange Woes Come Before Board Of Public Works

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Another $2 million is approved to compensate for defects in the Maryland health exchange. The deadline to sign up is March 31.

Political reporter Pat Warren explains the system is still drawing fire.

It was a road paved with good intentions but the Health Connection got a piece of the comptroller’s mind Wednesday for bypassing the Board of Public Works in awarding website contracts.

“I said very explicitly you will rue the day that you bypass the Board of Public Works because you risk…exactly what we have right now,” said Comptroller Peter Franchot.

The General Assembly passed legislation to bypass the usual contract process in order to get the website online by Oct. 1 but software defects crashed the system in the first hour.

Now some members of Congress asking if Maryland mismanaged the project and should repay some of the federal dollars spent on it.

Franchot believes the board could have prevented the problems.

“I can’t guarantee it but we might have ended up with something where more than three people signed up on the first day,” he said.

Governor Martin O’Malley pointed out that the state has nearly reached its goal for signing up the uninsured and took a glass half full approach.

“Maybe we should have a morning when we come back and go through the 22 other complex IT platforms we’ve implemented about which there were no glitches and therefore no reporting. That was kind of a joke,” he said. “I don’t think they’d report it even if we spent a whole meeting on it.”

The state health department says a new system will be in place for the signup next November.

More than $160 million in contracts were awarded.

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