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Federal Inspector to Audit Maryland Health Exchange

Federal Inspector to Audit Maryland Health Exchange

A federal inspector general is launching a review into what went wrong with Maryland's health insurance exchange, the first examination focused specifically on how millions of dollars in federal money was spent by the state, according to the lawmaker who requested the probe.

Rep. Andy Harris, a Baltimore County Republican and vocal opponent of President Barack Obama's health care law, said officials with the inspector general for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had contacted him and indicated they will look into the creation of the state's glitch-prone exchange.

The probe, which Harris said would likely begin in a matter of weeks, is the first of its kind to be revealed publicly. It comes days after the U.S. Government Accountability Office said it would review the formation of state-based insurance exchanges — though experts say an inspector general's examination is usually more exhaustive and specific.

State legislators also are scrutinizing problems with Maryland's online exchange, which crashed on its first day last fall and has had continued problems, including feuding contractors and major software issues. The state review is not expected to be completed until mid-2015 — well after this year's gubernatorial primary and general election.

"Unfortunately, Maryland has gained national attention as one of the worst roll outs," Harris, an anesthesiologist who represents the Eastern Shore-dominated 1st District, said in an interview. "This whole issue needs way more transparency."

"Whatever they find, they find," he said of the OIG review.

Through March 1, the site had enrolled just over 38,000 people in private plans.


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