Maryland's Harris: Officials Knew State's Obamacare Website Wouldn't Work

Tuesday, 11 Mar 2014 01:44 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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Officials in Maryland knew the state Obamacare website would not work on the first day the healthcare exchanges opened for enrollment Oct. 1, said Rep. Andy Harris, who has called for a federal investigation into the $200 million project.

"It crashed. It crashed in the first few hours on Oct. 1, and has never really regained usefulness," the Maryland Republican told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" on Tuesday.

"The preliminary investigation that was done in Maryland, which was stopped earlier this year, indicated that they were told by all the contractors and the vendors this was not going to work. It was not ready. And they decided to forge ahead anyway," he added.

Harris, who is a member of the House GOP Doctors Caucus, on Monday requested the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services to review the website and its contractors. He said he called for the probe because "no one in Maryland was taking a look."

"The state refuses to investigate on its own. This is a one-party-run state," he said, referring to Democrats.

Harris said the investigation would look specifically at the contracting process for the website, which was secured "outside the normal procurement process." He said there was "apparently very bad oversight of the contractors."

Maryland Obamacare website enrollments were far below projections, Harris said. Although the White House stated 38,000 people had enrolled in that state, he said only about 20,000 had paid premiums.

Even if the website worked effectively, Harris said he didn't think the Obamacare enrollment numbers would be very different. He said the problem was that "people don't really want to buy the product."

"I think the policy is defective. Coupled with bad implementation, it's just a fiasco nationwide," he said.

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