By Jack Minor –
After spending $125 million of taxpayers money and just days before the March 31 deadline for Americans to purchase health insurance or face a fine the state of Maryland is throwing in the towel and abandoning its Obamacare website which has been plagued with glitches from the first day.
The news came from the Washington Post, which reported that officials on the board of the Maryland exchange was going to vote on replacing the system that has so far cost at least $125.5 million with a system taken from Connecticut’s marketplace.
While the media focused on problems with federal governments HelathCare.gov website with its many problems that at first the president was reluctant to admit, Maryland’s exchange site was also riddled by similar glitches from day one and became the focus of intense scrutiny over the websites cost and how it could performs so poorly.
In addition to the cost of the website which is essentially wasted money, the glitches could end up costing taxpayers an additional $30.5 million according to a report by Maryland analysts last month. They noted that due to problems with the site the state cannot determine if people remain eligible for Medicaid or not. The report said “there is significant uncertainty about the way forward.”
The problems are so significant that in February, Rep. Andy Harris, the state’s only Republican congressman requested an investigation of the problems surrounding the site in February. Harris reported that the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services recently agreed to review the state exchange.
Despite outward fixes to HealthCare.gov, the website continues to suffer from not having a back-end feature that is able to confirm if people who have signed up have actually paid their first premium to activate coverage. Under insurance laws a policy of any kind is not considered active until the first initial payment has been made.
The administration has claimed that over 6 million Americans have signed up for insurance on the Obamacare exchanges, but has told Congress it has no way of knowing how many of those have actually completed the enrollment process which includes making a payment.
Maryland is not the only state with major problems with its website. Earlier this month the Government Accountability Office took up a request from a group of House Republicans to investigate the Cover Oregon site. Cover Oregon has spent over $304 million in federal grants on their site but has yet to enroll a single online without providing special assistance.
The president claimed that using the exchanges would be as easy as going to Amazon to shop and make a purchase.