Imagine what life might be like if the government stopped “helping” so much. Yesterday, it was revealed that the government’s own Environmental Protection Agency had triggered another mine wastewater spill.
Today the bad news comes out of Maryland. According to the state’s Office of Legislative Audits, officials with the Obamacare health insurance exchange risked patient information, violated open-meetings laws, awarded unjustified sole-source contracts, and missed getting $199,000 after failing to submit federal reimbursement requests on time.
Maryland’s auditor found the Maryland Health Benefits Exchange “stored personally identifiable information and federal tax information” for nearly 600,000 people without encrypting it, leaving full names, Social Security numbers and addresses susceptible to identity theft, the OLA report said. Officials also allowed “excessive” administrative access to the network, further risking the system’s integrity.
Exchange officials unjustifiably awarded two sole-source contracts worth a combined $5.9 million, and took nearly three years to request federal reimbursement for some expenses, meaning the state missed the reimbursement deadline and spent $199,000 unnecessarily.
Directors of exchange held multiple closed meetings that should have been open to the public.
The 50-page report is the latest in bad news for the MHBE, which crashed just moments after it opened in October 2013 and required months to rebuild. State and federal taxpayers shelled out more than $264 million for the exchange from July 2011 to June 2014.
Then-Gov. Martin O’Malley is now seeking the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. State officials terminated the development contract with the exchange’s original vendor in February 2014.
“As with every complex IT system, maintaining the highest levels of security requires constant vigilance and enhancement,” MHBE Executive Director Carolyn Quattrocki said in a response to the report:
Committed to that ongoing effort, MHBE is constantly evaluating and implementing potential improvements. The agency was in the course of implementing some of OLA’s recommendations at the time of the audit, and it is in the process of addressing the remainder of the recommendations.
This report, by Kathryn Watson, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.