Gansler Brown
Doug Gansler and Anthony Brown. File 2014 (The Daily Record/Max Franz)

Gansler calls for transparency in health exchange contracting

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Douglas F. Gansler Thursday called for increased transparency when it comes to contracts with the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange.

Gansler, in an emailed statement from his campaign, called for the board that oversees the exchange to voluntarily revise its own rules governing contract approvals and agree to send contracts of $200,000 or more to the Board of Public Works for approval.

Gansler specifically singled out Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, the front-runner in the 2014 Democratic primary contest for governor.

“This has to stop. The exchange board should do the right thing and provide transparency,” Gansler said in his statement. “It’s the very least Lt. Governor Brown and the exchange board can do for the people of Maryland, who are still seeking answers about why the exchange was such an utter disaster.”

Brown’s campaign manager said Gansler sounds like a Republican.

“Just like Republicans, Doug Gansler wants Obamacare to fail for his own political gain, that’s why he sat on the sidelines while Anthony Brown worked to get over 313,000 Marylanders signed up for quality affordable health care,” said Justin Schall in an emailed response.

The email did not address a reporter’s questions regarding whether Brown thought additional oversight on contracts was necessary.

Currently, the exchange is not required to vet contracts through the three-member board that includes Gov. Martin J. O’Malley, Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp.

Gansler is the latest Democrat to call for more public oversight of health exchange contracts.

Franchot has repeatedly called for the exchange to bring contracts before the Board of Public works.

The site struggled since opening in October. State officials ultimately fired its primary contractor, Fargo, North Dakota-based Noridian Healthcare Solutions. Brown and other officials announced earlier this month that the state would move to a healthcare exchange designed and run by Connecticut.

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