Maryland May Scrap Awful State-Run Obamacare Market And Just Send Everybody To Healthcare.gov
December 20, 2013 by Ben Bullard
The editorial board of The Baltimore Sun is embracing a suggestion by Representative John Delaney (D-Md.) that the State should consider abandoning its troubled healthcare online marketplace and just refer everyone who plans to sign up for Obamacare to the Federal Healthcare.gov website.
How bad does Maryland’s Obamacare enrollment process have to be to make Healthcare.gov seem like a preferable choice?
The editorial states:
If the exchange is able to replicate its best weekday and weekend performance during every one of the 104 days between now and the end of the open enrollment period on March 31, Maryland will still only achieve about three-quarters of its goal of signing up 150,000 people with private coverage. The site may be better, but better isn’t good enough.
Under those circumstances, the question raised by Rep. John Delaney, a Montgomery County Democrat, about whether it would be better for Maryland to scrap its effort to build its own exchange and instead join the federal one has merit. Indeed, Gov. Martin O’Malley acknowledged on Monday that the option — and all others — remain on the table.
… Mr. Delaney’s question gets to one of the key issues: Knowing what we know now, should we conclude that such ambitious features [as Maryland’s online marketplace is supposed to offer] are simply unfeasible and cut our losses? But it also raises another: Are we now at a point where the disruption of switching to the federal exchange would be greater than that of working through the current system?
The Sun also calls out Democratic Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley for possessing “no small amount of hubris and political ambition” in attempting to establish Maryland’s $107 million online insurance market as a full-featured flagship site that other States would seek to emulate.
Of course, deploying a site backed by such visionary goals is hard to do when your marketplace director goes on a Caribbean vacation in the middle of a disastrous site launch and then resigns in disgrace.
“We can have the best policy ideas in the world, but if no one thinks we can execute, no one will trust us to do them,” Delaney said last week in positing the idea of scrapping the State exchange. “I think the Maryland exchange is an example of Democrats not managing well.”
Remember: Delaney is a Democrat.