FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, April 17, 2014
Gansler Calls for Increased Health Exchange Oversight
Lt. Gov. Brown Has Provided Zero Accountability; Board of Public Works Should Get Involved
Silver Spring, MARYLAND – In the wake of Maryland’s failed health exchange rollout led by Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and in the absence of any transparency from the Lt. Governor about its cost or failures, today Democratic gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Douglas Gansler called on the Board of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange to submit all future contracts over $200,000 for review by the Maryland Board of Public Works.
“Yet another contract awarded behind closed doors and not a single answer from Lt. Governor Anthony Brown about why thousands of Marylanders have no health insurance and are left footing a nearly $200 million bill,” said Gansler. “This has to stop. The exchange board should do the right thing and provide transparency. It’s the very least Lt. Governor Brown and the exchange board can do for the people of Maryland, who are still seeking answers about why the exchange was such an utter disaster.”
Gansler is proposing that the exchange board voluntarily revise the procurement rules it created to allow for contracts over $200,000 to be reviewed by the Board of Public Works. This would still allow the exchange board flexibility with contracting while also providing much-needed oversight and accountability.
In fact, the statute creating the board and the exchange specifically called for procurement policies to “establish an open and transparent process that promotes public confidence in the procurements of the Exchange” and “provides safeguards for maintaining a procurement system of quality and integrity.”
Yet, the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Board voted two weeks ago to abandon the failed exchange site and to adopt Connecticut’s platform, awarding yet another contract behind closed doors and with “limited, if any, input oversight from a legislative oversight panel.”
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot has called repeatedly for letting the Board of Public Works review exchange contracts, saying “The proof is in the pudding. It’s a mess.”
· “I feel bad for the taxpayers because I think they are standing outside with a barrel around them saying, ‘What happened?'” Franchot said. “Now that we are trying to get out of the mess and get a new exchange with Connecticut, I am also urging the board and (Health Secretary Dr. Joshua) Sharfstein to bring these contracts before the board, stand up in the light of day and tell us who they are hiring and what they are paying them.” [4/3/14,WBAL]
· “Would you please suggest to Dr. Sharfstein that any new contracts entered into by the Exchange Board come before the Board of Public Works? It is a transparent vetting process that will benefit the Health Exchange and the taxpayers.” [4/2/14, Meeting of the Board of Public Works]
· “They chose to end run the Board of Public Works. The proof is in the pudding. It’s a mess,” Franchot said. “I can not guarantee the Board of Public Works could have prevented that. But in my own personal view, none of this would have happened had the board been allowed to do its own procurement process.” [3/26/14, Baltimore Business Journal]
Public Safety For nearly two decades, Doug Gansler has made the safety of Marylanders and their families his top priority, combating gangs and violent crime, promoting Internet safety and transparency, targeting public corruption, preventing domestic violence, fighting alcohol and tobacco abuse, and perhaps most importantly mentoring our youth. Read More >>
Consumer Protection Fighting the fraud that has destroyed dreams of home ownership and is killing our healthcare system, Doug Gansler has recovered over 1 billion dollars for Marylanders. Read More >>
ENVIRONMENT Doug Gansler has made protecting our environment, and specifically the Chesapeake Bay, one of his top priorities. Read More >>
CIVIL RIGHTS Doug knows our democracy only works if it works for everyone, which is why he set up the first Division of Civil Rights in the Office of the Attorney General and hired its first director. Read More >>