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Md. Moves To Revamp Flawed Health Exchange

HANOVER, Md. (WJZ) -- Maryland dumps its health exchange website and votes for a system officials say is proven to work.

Political reporter Pat Warren has details on what to expect next.

The Maryland Health Exchange website is an "ex" getting ready for a change.

"Our contractors let us down," said Governor Martin O'Malley.

The website crashed, glitched and froze people out.

"And then when they said they could fix it, were incapable of fixing it," he said.

There was only one solution.

"So we move," he said. "This is the piece that will be swapped out come November."

This piece will be plugged in. The DeLoitte web technology used in Connecticut is considered one of the most successful in the country, user-friendly, simple to navigate--and it worked.

"I guess the best evidence and the best guarantee we have for whether or not it will work is the fact that it does and it has," he said.

Maryland Deadline Day still saw thousands of applicants floating in cyberspace.

"I had gone in a couple of months ago and created the whole password thing so now I had to go back in and try and remember what I had done and get them to send me passwords so it's easier to come and talk to a person at this point," said Ailyn Sweet.

"Somebody said to me, `In retrospect, what have you learned?' I said 'I learned that we should have hired DeLoitte instead of IBM,'" O'Malley said.

The new system will cost between $40 and $50 million, expected to come from the federal government and a state start-up of about $6 million. Millions of federal and state dollars were poured into the black hole of the Maryland Health Connection and there's an effort to recoup some of those losses.

IBM claims the state leadership is responsible.

"Yes, we take responsibility for fixing this and we'll see IBM in court," O'Malley said.

But that's not the only judgment the leadership faces.

"We still need to know who knew what, when did they know it, why did they not communicate the failures that were going on," said Senator David Brinkley.

And there's plenty of failure to go around.

Despite all that, health officials say the state exceeded its goal and 290,000 Marylanders signed up for coverage.

The next step is approval to get the new plan approved by the federal government.

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