Says Maryland taxpayers should not have to pay for a breach of contract

The state of Maryland spent over $129.8 million dollars in an effort to be one of the first states to create and operate its own online health care marketplace.  The launch of the exchange has been widely criticized by state leaders.  In early April, Governor O’Malley said that the vendors “failed to build us the platform they promised.”

 In a statement, Cardin said “Obamacare was enacted because affordable healthcare is a right that has been denied to too many.  With the implementation of Obamacare, the barriers to affordable healthcare have transitioned from denials for pre-existing conditions and other unfair practices by health insurance companies, to technical difficulties and incompetence by government contractors.  Nowhere is this problem more evident than in the state of Maryland.  These problems need to be fixed immediately, and Maryland taxpayers should not be liable for the cost of fixing the egregious mistakes of the contractors in charge of creating the exchange.”

Of total expenditure, $91.7 million was spent on technology, $72.1 million of which was paid to Noridian Healthcare Solutions.   In exchange, Noridian delivered a site that crashed within minutes after opening and has been plagued with problems and glitches ever since.  As a result, the board of Maryland’s Health Benefits Exchange voted in early April to hire Deliotte Consulting to replace the current exchange similar to the one used by the state of Connecticut, admitting that our current system is broken beyond repair.  While the federal government has said it will cover some of the costs, Maryland will still have to pay approximately $40 to $50 million dollars for the repair.

If elected, Cardin pledged to ensure that the costs of repairing the system will be paid by those who failed to fulfill their contractual obligations.  As Attorney General, Cardin plans to target all companies that delivered a defective product at taxpayer expense.  The goal of this action is to provide the Maryland taxpayers with the products that they were promised, and to hold vendors accountable for violating their contractual obligations to the state.

 Cardin concluded, “As the state’s top legal officer, it will be my job to ensure that Maryland taxpayers are neither exploited by companies like Noridian nor taken advantage of by their incompetence.”