The board of the Maryland health exchange recently voted to abandon the state’s failed online exchange and to adopt the technology used in Connecticut’s exchange, instead of joining the federal exchange. This is after Maryland already wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on its own exchange. I hope that the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General’s investigators, whom I requested to perform an investigation, will be able to find out the truth as to how so much of our tax dollars were wasted.
The board was right to stop throwing away even more taxpayer dollars on a system that does not work. But going with the Connecticut technology will still cost Marylanders tens of millions of dollars more—an estimated $40 million to $50 million more.
And even after requisite testing, there is no assurance the new platform will work in Maryland, given that our Medicaid system is somewhat different from Connecticut’s and we have a mere six months till the next open-enrollment period this November. A recent editorial in The Baltimore Sun surmises that the federal government will pick up the tab. As if the $200 million-plus federal taxpayer dollars wasted on Maryland’s dysfunctional online exchange wasn’t a big enough waste. All we can hope for at this point is to avoid a situation of “new technology, same old problems.” Will the new Maryland exchange work? We’ll find out in November.
Andy Harris, M.D.
MEMBER OF CONGRESS
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