Feds open investigation of Md. ObamaCare site

The Health and Human Services inspector general (IG) will launch an investigation into the failed ObamaCare exchange in Maryland, Rep. Andy HarrisAndrew (Andy) Peter Harris58 GOP lawmakers vote against disaster aid bill Overnight Defense — Presented by Huntington Ingalls Industries — Trump nominates Shanahan as Pentagon chief | House panel advances bill to block military funds for border wall | Trump defends Bolton despite differences House panel advances bill to block military construction funds for border wall MORE (R-Md.) announced Monday.

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“Maryland officials ignored early warning signs and chose to waste and abuse federal taxpayer money by opening up what they knew was a flawed exchange to the public,” he wrote in a statement.

“I have confidence that the nonpartisan and independent HHS Inspector General will thoroughly investigate and bring to light how hundreds of millions of dollars were wasted on one of the worst exchange roll outs in the country,” he added.

An official with the HHS inspector general’s office did not return a request for confirmation.

Last month, Harris and Rep. Jack KingstonJohon (Jack) Heddens KingstonEx-Trump campaign adviser praises Warren for introducing proposals with 'originality' Can Pelosi steer Democrats' ship past the impeachment rocks? Ex-Trump campaign adviser on Tillerson remarks: Trump will 'pick a fight with anybody' MORE (R-Ga.) sent a letter to the IG requesting the investigation. State officials in Maryland have been debating for months whether to abandon the faltering state-run exchange in favor of HealthCare.gov. 


“By the end of the year, over $100 million federal dollars will have been spent on a project that should have cost much less, and doesn’t work,” they wrote. “As a result of the fact that Maryland appears willing to continue to waste tens of millions of more federal dollars, we ask that the investigation start immediately.”

Harris and Kingston accused state lawmakers and administration officials of ignoring warnings from auditors that the Maryland site suffered from critical flaws and wouldn’t be ready to launch.

“Despite all of these warning signs, Maryland chose to continue to waste and abuse federal taxpayer money by opening up what they knew was a flawed exchange to the pubic,” they wrote. “Subsequent to the disastrous rollout, additional federal dollars continue to be spent attempting to fix what ... might not even be fixable.”

Harris and Kingston also asked the IG to determine whether federal funds could be recouped on the project. Maryland has significantly underperformed its enrollment goals, signing up fewer than half of the 77,600 that had been expected for the state by the end of March.

The Maryland exchange is one of a handful of ObamaCare disaster sites that have caught the attention of state and federal lawmakers.

Last week, Congress’s investigative arm said it would audit Oregon’s broken healthcare exchange site, which has yet to enroll even one person despite spending $304 million in federal funds.


The U.S. Government Accountability Office said it would look into how funds were spent and whether that money could be recovered from third-party contractors, among other things.


In Massachusetts, the state’s healthcare exchange worked fine until it had to comply with the new healthcare law. Since October, the site has suffered frequent crashes and load problems. 

Hawaii and Minnesota are two other problem sites.



The scrutiny of the state enrollment portals is a shift from October, when the federal site, HealthCare.gov, was out of service but state-run exchanges in California, New York, Connecticut and even red Kentucky appeared to be humming along.



In Connecticut, state officials are seeking to capitalize on their success, offering fee-based healthcare consulting services to the states that have stumbled.