Last Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Andy Harris (D-Md.) announced the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is beginning an investigation into the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange and issued subpoeanas. The Maryland Republican Party officials fear fraud may have been committed while the state contracted and created the exchange. Maryland GOP Chairman […]
Last Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Andy Harris (D-Md.) announced the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is beginning an investigation into the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange and issued subpoeanas.
The Maryland Republican Party officials fear fraud may have been committed while the state contracted and created the exchange. Maryland GOP Chairman Diana Waterman said Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, the Democratic nomination for governor, needs to be held accountable.
“Lt. Governor Brown was in charge of running the MD Health Exchange and he needs to be questioned about this possible fraud,” Waterman said.
Joe Cluster, executive director for the Republican Party, said $280 million of taxpayer’s money was wasted “with nothing to show for it.”
“He was the head of the program, he was promoting it saying that it would be great,” Cluster said. “He had no problem taking credit for it, but now that everything has failed he has no involvement with it.”
The allegations resulted in an audit of the system but have since transitioned into an investigation. “Once they give out subpoenas it means that they are investigating the situation,” said Cluster.
The Office of Inspector General could not confirm or deny if an investigation is ongoing.
A spokesman for Brown’s campaign said Republicans are engaging in “political games” and that Brown supports a review.
“It’s disappointing that Larry Hogan 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,” said Justin Schall, Brown’s campaign manager. “As he has said repeatedly in the past, Lt. Governor Brown fully supports this review but neither the Lt. Governor nor anyone in his office has received any communication or requests from the office of the Inspector General or any other federal agency. Lt. Governor Brown has repeatedly said that everyone involved in setting up the exchange, including himself, bears responsibility, but that doesn’t change the fact that they restructured the exchange and rolled up their sleeves to enroll over 411,000 Marylanders in quality affordable care.”
The Maryland Health Benefits Exchange is a marketplace allowing individuals and small businesses to shop and compare qualified insurance plans that are affordable for their household or business. Enrollees may receive free preventative screenings; will be accepted despite pre-existing conditions and children can stay on their parents insurance up until the age of 26, among other things.
According to the Health Benefits Exchange, as of Aug. 23, 78,666 individuals have enrolled in qualified health plans. As of Aug. 27, 355,281 individuals have gained Medicaid coverage in 2014 and remain active in Medicaid. This includes the 95,889 PAC enrollees who were automatically converted on Jan. 1, 2014, to full Medicaid coverage.