Maryland Congressman: So, is it too late to switch over to the federal exchange website?
posted at 5:21 pm on January 6, 2014 by Erika Johnsen
Governor Martin O’Malley finally declared their much-vaunted exchange “not glitch-free but functional for most users” in the middle of December, and yet the state’s enrollment is still lagging way behind both other states and their own goals with only 18,250 residents having signed up for health insurance as of the end of last month while reports of prohibitive website errors still abound. I have no idea how even just temporarily hitching a ride on the also highly imperfect federal exchange until their own site is out of the woods would work administratively (and indeed, Maryland officials still seem to be working on figuring that out), but it sounds like they are genuinely considering the idea — which I’m guessing means they know they still have major website problems, with no definitive end in sight. Via the AP:
Rep. John Delaney, a Democrat, formally asked the state’s health secretary for a specific assessment of the idea of switching to the federal health exchange while Maryland’s exchange is being repaired. He wrote in a letter to Dr. Joshua Sharfstein that Maryland could make the switch in whole or in part or on a temporary basis.Delaney cited recently released data from the White House that indicated 2.1 million people have signed up for private insurance nationally, including more than 1 million through the federal marketplace. The congressman compared that to 18,257 Maryland residents who have been able to enroll, which is 12 percent of the state’s goal of 150,000.
“We have fallen quite far behind the national average and we’re running out of time,” Delaney wrote, adding that he has heard from frustrated and concerned residents throughout his district, which stretches from Garrett County in western Maryland and includes a significant portion of Montgomery County near the nation’s capital.
On Friday, Gov. Martin O’Malley said he would keep the idea of moving to the federal exchange or partnering with other states under consideration.
And that wasn’t the only criticism coming their way, with a potential O’Malley successor throwing in his two cents on the irresponsible manner in which Maryland is currently directing their resources, via WaPo:
A leading Republican candidate for Maryland governor wants the state to stop spending millions of dollars marketing and promoting its problem-plagued health insurance marketplace and instead point residents directly to private insurance carriers and other options.
Harford County Executive David R. Craig (R) released a plan on Monday that calls on the administration of Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) to obtain a waiver from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to divert money away from promoting the state’s health exchange and toward a “public awareness campaign informing consumers of their right to obtain health insurance directly through carriers.”
“Up to $150 million dollars is going towards promoting a failing exchange, and throwing good money after bad needs to end now,” Craig said in a statement. “The administration must realize that their intended solutions are only causing more problems, creating mass confusion, ruining credibility in government and harming our quality of life.”
Things just get worse and worse for what was once supposed to be a model of ObamaCare excellence.