If any state is poised to be ready, it's Maryland. One of the first to pass a law establishing an exchange, back in April 2011, it's moved swiftly to begin building a $51 million computer system that citizens will use to shop for insurance online as they do for airline tickets on Expedia (EXPE). "We want to be the model," says Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, who oversees the state's healthcare reform efforts. Yet even with its early lead, Maryland faces big challenges as it tries to assemble all the pieces of the massive law. That computer system the state’s building? It will have to connect seamlessly with both Maryland’s Medicaid system and the federal government's computers.