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Congressman: Feds To Investigate Maryland’s Health Exchange

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Alex DeMetrick 370x278 Alex DeMetrick
Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — First a troubled rollout, now a federal investigation into Maryland’s health exchange.

Alex DeMetrick reports it may have been started by a Maryland congressman but the investigators are independent of politics–and they are diggers.

When the Affordable Care Act rolled out across the nation’s computer screens, federal websites were plagued with errors. So was Maryland’s state exchange site.

“Right now, there’s a lot of unexpected bottlenecks and delays,” said one woman.

Even with $200 million in federal money poured into Maryland’s exchange, some are still asking questions.

“How $200 million could have been frittered away in that exchange,” said Maryland Congressman Andy Harris.

Harris says his request for an investigation has been taken up by the Inspector General’s office.

“I’m not hearing about any state investigation, which is one of the reasons I thought the federal government should get involved,” Harris said.

“Sure, anybody that wants to investigate it, then investigate it,” said Governor O’Malley.

But O’Malley likely won’t be the focus. Much of it could fall upon Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who was in charge of establishing the exchange.

As problems about his leadership mounted, he also said questions needed to be answered.

“Where we need to look at–whether you call it an investigation or an audit–to see what went wrong,” Brown said.

That won’t be in Harris’ hands.

The Inspector General’s office is independent, apolitical and has seasoned investigators with subpoena power. But Harris has a wish list.

“How these contracts were let out, what the management was on the performance of the contract and whether the appropriate oversight was ongoing in order to avoid the debacle that occurred,” Harris said.

As Maryland’s only Republican in Congress, Harris has been a long-time opponent of Obamacare.

Monday, Governor O’Malley said the state’s biggest mistake was originally hiring the wrong contractor and that 200,000 Marylanders are currently enrolled in the health care exchange.

A federal investigation could take several months to a year to complete, and may well focus on other states’ exchanges, as well as Maryland’s.

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