Maryland officials reportedly have agreed to delay court action seeking $55 million from the primary contractor for the state’s problematic ObamaCare website.
Officials from Maryland’s health care exchange in April fired the contractor, Noridian Healthcare Solutions, and vowed to seek court actions to recoup the money.
Both sides have struck a temporary deal so state officials can focus on the second year of ObamaCare enrollment that starts Nov. 15, according to The Baltimore Sun.
A spokeswoman for Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley told The Sun that officials are still "evaluating claims that we may pursue in litigation."
The first ObamaCare enrollment, on Oct. 1, 2013, got off to a disastrous start, marked by an overwhelming public response that crashed the federal site, HealthCare.gov, and several state-run sites.
President Obama, angry and “frustrated” by the start of arguably his biggest legislative accomplishment, made sure the software problems were essentially fixed after the first several weeks by hiring industry experts to work around the clock to write better computer code and fix software bugs.
But at least two state-run sites -- Maryland and Oregon’s -- had to scrap their failed, multi-million dollar, online projects.
Oregon has moved online customers to the federal site after software bugs and other technical problems kept the state from fully enrolling a single customer online.
The problems and transition is estimated to cost state and federal taxpayers at least an additional $85 million -- including $50 million to manually enroll thousands of customers and $35 million to Deloitte Consulting to salvage the faulty technology.
Maryland officials have decided to replace their technology, instead of fixing the system or like Oregon joining the federal exchange system.
They have hired Deloitte Consulting, which has successfully run the Connecticut exchange. The effort is expected to cost $43 million.
The decision also comes just weeks before Election Day for Democratic nominee for governor Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who was O’Malley’s point man for ObamaCare.
Maryland and contractor Noridian have blamed each other and subcontractors, including IBM, for the problems.
The decision to delay action also came amid an ongoing inspector general’s probe, which was requested in February by Maryland GOP Rep. Andy Harris.
"Millions of dollars were wasted because of a lack of oversight by Lieutenant Governor Brown, and now the state must try to recoup some of the money he allowed to be sent to companies who couldn't deliver," Harris told The Sun. "The federal investigation should provide critical information about how taxpayer dollars were wasted and whether fraud occurred."
Justin Schall, Brown's campaign manager, said: "It's disappointing that congressman Harris would mislead the people of Maryland and play political games with a federal investigation."
Thirty-six states are part of the federal exchange, and there are 14 state-run sites.
The president crafted the legislation to help an estimated 30 million uninsured Americans get coverage.
The administration reached its goal of enrolling 6 million people by its self-imposed March 31 deadline. And right now, 7.3 million people have enrolled in marketplace plans, paid their premiums and have access to insurance, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.