Brown Claim: Brown is providing “Vendor Accountability” and “has encouraged a comprehensive and transparent review”
Brown’s new webpage claims, “The Lt. Governor has encouraged a comprehensive and transparent review of what went wrong to ensure Maryland learns lessons on how to avoid problems like this in the future.”
TRUTH: Vendors Weren’t Fired Until Almost Five Months After Site Failure.
Maryland did not fire its lead contractor Noridian until February 23, 2014 – five weeks before the March 31 enrollment deadline – and almost five months after the site’s initial catastrophic failure. [Washington Post, 2/24/14]
TRUTH: Leadership Is About Taking Responsibility, Not Blaming Vendors.
As a top tech official in Connecticut told the Washington Post, “But officials in Connecticut said officials who run state exchanges must ultimately take responsibility when things go wrong.
‘That’s not a problem with the vendors; that’s a lack of leadership,’ said James Wadleigh, top technology officer with the Connecticut exchange and a former official with Hartford-based Cigna Health and Life Insurance. ‘At Cigna, if I said, ‘It’s the vendor’s fault,’ at the end of the day someone would have asked for my badge and said, ‘Here’s a severance package.’” [Washington Post, 5/4/14]
TRUTH: Brown Refuses to Release Health Exchange Emails.
“Brown’s office cited executive privilege for not releasing emails sought in a public information request by The Sun. The newspaper asked for emails between Brown and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, the agency in charge of the exchange.” [Baltimore Sun, 12/10/13]
In December 2013, the Baltimore Sun editorialized that Brown should release the emails related to his leadership of the Maryland health exchange website. “Which is more important to him, ensuring Marylanders’ opportunity to determine who is responsible for the health insurance exchange debacle or avoiding the possibility that he will be embarrassed by what they find?” [Baltimore Sun, 12/11/13]
In February 2014, the Baltimore Sun again noted that Brown had cited executive privilege in refusing to disclose emails related to the health exchange. “But all of that left some major holes in the public’s understanding of what went wrong and who was responsible. In particular, it’s notable that The Sun’s public information act request turned up no emails between Mr. Brown and the state workers developing the insurance exchange in the two weeks before and after the launch. Some unspecified number of messages were withheld under an executive privilege exemption. The same exemption was used to avoid disclosure of an unknown number of other emails among high-ranking state officials.” [Baltimore Sun, 2/18/14]
TRUTH: A State Audit Could Not Determine the Identity of Decision-makers or Propriety of Procurement Process.
According to an April 2014 report released by the Office of Legislative Audits, due to information withheld in its review of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, the OLA could not determine the propriety of the Exchange’s procurement process nor the identities of the Exchange’s key decision-makers.
The following quotes are extracted from the OLA’s report:
“Furthermore, documents did not shed light on who (whether an individual or group of individuals) was responsible for making key decisions regarding project direction and results and whether a go/no go meeting was held before the go-live date on October 1, 2013 as recommended by BerryDunn.”
“Based on documents reviewed, we could not determine the specific individuals who were providing executive leadership via the Team and Committee.”
“We could not determine the propriety of the contract award as certain key documents, such as documents relating to the advertisement, technical evaluation, and award were either redacted or not provided.” [Office of Legislative Audits, Report on Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, 4/03/14]
TRUTH: Brown Said “Do Me a Favor. Don’t Show Me Invoices Like This”
In March 2014, when Fox 45 asked approached Brown with a question about the health exchange’s expense invoices, Brown responded, “Do me a favor. Don’t show me invoices like this.” [Fox 45, 3/24/14]
TRUTH: Washington Post Said Exchange Decision Makers “Continue to Operate Largely Behind Closed Doors”
According to the Post, “The state has adopted software from Connecticut and hired new consultants. But many of the decision makers who led the first, flawed effort remain in place and — despite criticism — continue to operate largely behind closed doors.” [Washington Post, 5/03/14]
TRUTH: Noridian Awarded Contract to Develop Small Business Exchange in Closed-Door Meeting.
“The contractor under fire for the botched rollout of the state’s troubled online health exchange for uninsured people was also hired during a closed-door meeting to develop a similar marketplace for Maryland’s small businesses — work that exchange officials acknowledge has halted.” [Baltimore Sun, 2/23/14]
TRUTH: Exchange Awarded New Contract to Deloitte Behind Closed Doors. [Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, Statement for Closing a Meeting, 4/01/14]