HANOVER, Md. (AP) — A Maryland board voted Tuesday to replace technology in the state's badly flawed health-exchange website instead of fixing its current system or partnering with the federal health care exchange.
The board of directors of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange decided to adopt a technology developed by Deloitte Consulting that has proved successful in Connecticut.
Maryland has had one of the worst exchange websites of the 14 states that developed their own: The state's health exchange website crashed shortly after it opened Oct. 1.
"We contracted with vendors, household names ... to deliver a quality website for Marylanders, and we are going to hold them responsible and accountable for the cost of underperformance," said Democratic Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, a candidate for governor whose leadership has come under question by opponents who cite his role in leading implementation of the exchange.
Republicans have called for investigations into how the state's exchange was managed and criticized what amounts to the loss of tens of millions of dollars in fixing the flawed system. U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, the only Republican in the state's congressional delegation, called on the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to investigate, and the inspector general has agreed to conduct a review.
Harris, a physician, said in a statement Tuesday night, "Regrettably, as opposed to joining the federal exchange, going with the Connecticut technology will still cost Marylanders tens of millions of dollars more."
The decision to shift to Deloitte comes as Maryland tries to build a better exchange website for the next open enrollment period in November.
"I obviously wish that we would have had a better system in place," state House Speaker Michael Busch, D-Anne Arundel, said earlier Tuesday. "I think the lesson learned here, Connecticut and Kentucky both got systems that were really pretty simplistic in the fact that they either registered or didn't register you into a health care plan. I mean, there were a lot of options, I think, in the Maryland plan that broke down from an exchange standpoint."
Maryland's health exchange reported Friday that 49,293 people have enrolled in private plans through March 22. The state initially hoped to have 150,000 enrolled in private plans. Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration has tried to offset the disappointing private plan enrollments by highlighting that 220,043 additional Maryland residents have enrolled in Medicaid as a result of the federal Affordable Care Act.
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