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Republicans continue push to scrap health exchange website

Republicans in Annapolis continue their push to get more information about what went wrong with the state's troubled health exchange website, and to scrap the site entirely.

Maryland Senate Minority Leader David Brinkley called for an independent investigation, but was told in a letter from Attorney General Douglas Gansler that his office lacked the authority.


Gansler, a gubernatorial candidate, said he too was concerned that "the taxpayers of Maryland had been poorly served by the executive branch's mismanagement of health care reform implementation," and reiterated comments he made earlier about exploring recovery of taxpayer dollars from contractors.

Meanwhile, a bill sponsored by 23 Republicans, led by Del. Michael Hough, from Washington and Frederick counties, that would force the state to abandon its exchange website and switch the federal site will get a hearing Friday in the House Health and Government Operations Committee.


"It's a great opportunity to talk about what's going on in Maryland," Hough said. "There hasn't been a real accounting of what happened, and why we're spending more than $200 million on a website that doesn't work."

Hough acknowledged that the bill introduced last month faces long odds in the legislature controlled by Democrats, but moving to the federal site was the best alternative.

Exchange officials haven't ruled out such a move. It's one of several possibilities officials have said they are considering, in addition to using another state's technology, building a new site or fixing the one they have. Exchange officials already have cut ties to their prime contractor and accepted the resignation of the exchange's director.

A legislative panel has been holding hearings about problems with the site and enrollment, which lasts until March 31.

Exchange officials did not respond to request for comment.