Congressman: Md. Health Exchange Under Review For Possible Fraud
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)— A Maryland Congressman says subpoenas are being issued in a federal investigation into Maryland's health exchange. He believes there was fraud in the system that cost taxpayers millions but didn't work right at the start.
Mike Hellgren has more on these subpoenas.
Congressman Andy Harris says there appears to be evidence of fraud. He is Maryland's only Republican in Congress and has fought Obamacare. But this investigation---if it's happening---is being conducted by what is supposed to be a non-political government agency.
Maryland's health exchange---the connection to Obamacare here---never worked as easily as the ads promised at launch. It crashed and was filled with technical problems.
The exchange is now being revamped but Harris says there's a growing federal investigation into the millions of taxpayer dollars already spent on the website.
He says the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General is issuing subpoenas for fraud.
"There were invoices literally for hundreds of dollars an hour in charges with no reason for the invoices, no specific work done and these were approved by the executive director," Harris said.
A representative of the Inspector's Office tells WJZ he can't confirm any investigation. The office is non-political, independent, and looks into waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars.
"Every year, we investigate, prosecute and conduct hundreds of companies who misuse our seal taxpayer dollars. As a result of our work, we recover billions," an official said.
In published reports, a spokesman for the Maryland Health Exchange denied Harris' claim that subpoenas had been issued.
Earlier, the governor and lieutenant governor both welcomed an investigation.
It's unclear who is being targeted in any possible investigation, whether the subpoenas are for government workers or contractors. The health exchange and fixes to it are expected to cost taxpayers more than $260 million.
"It's in a new phase now, a phase which could ultimately result in criminal charges," Harris said.
WJZ has reached out to the lieutenant governor about the investigation and has yet to hear back.
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