Subpoenas issued in Maryland Obamacare exchange investigation
The inspector general of HHS has been looking into the disaster that is the Maryland Obamacare exchange of several months. The audit has now become a full blown investigation and subpoenas have been issued, according to Rep. Andy Harris who requested the audit.
“The Office of Inspector General has moved this from an audit into a full-blown investigation,” Harris said in the statement. “The investigation has included the issuing of subpoenas. I called for the audit of the Maryland exchange because tens of millions of taxpayer dollars were wasted, and those who wasted them should be held accountable.”
Harris also was quick to mention Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s role as a leader in the health care exchange rollout. Brown, a Democrat, is running for governor.
“Lt. Gov. Brown was in charge of the exchange, and it appears fraud may have gone on under his watch,” Harris said. “Those who wasted and abused taxpayer money, including politicians, must be held accountable.”
Justin Schall, Brown’s campaign manager, reacted strongly to the congressman’s statement. He said neither Brown nor anyone in his office has received any communication or requests from the office of the inspector general or any other federal agency.
“It’s disappointing that Congressman Harris would mislead the people of Maryland and play political games with a federal investigation, but it is clear that the Republicans will say anything to achieve their extreme right-wing agenda,” Schall said in a statement.
Meekins said the extent of the subpoenas remains unclear, but they relate to companies initially involved in setting up the health care exchange. Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration has blamed vendors hired by the state for not delivering the product they promised.
Maryland’s health exchange website crashed almost as soon as it opened on Oct. 1. The state was not able to fully fix the many problems that plagued it for months, but the state stayed with it through the first open enrollment period that ended May 31. Maryland is in the process of revamping the website for the next enrollment period.
The Maryland exchange is one of 5 across the country that are being investigated by various agencies - 1/3 of all state exchanges.. Cover Oregon, the $5 billion debacle that never worked, is being investigated by the FBI.
Most of those states are contemplating lawsuits against the contractors and vendors, but the reality is that state bureaucrats made the company's jobs impossible by constantly altering specifications. Trying to deflect blame from their own incompetence isn't working, and it's possible that criminal prosections for misleading Congress will be forthcoming in some of those states.