GOP Looks to Use Troubled State Health Exchanges Against Democrats

Sunday, 02 Feb 2014 09:56 PM

By Greg Richter

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While Healthcare.gov has been working out its glitches, some of the states that set up their own Obamacare health exchanges are still struggling – and Republicans are looking to use those failures against Democrats in November.

Republicans already have vowed to use the issue against Democratic gubernatorial and legislative office-seekers in Maryland, Minnesota, and Oregon, The New York Times reports. All three states have had technical problems with their exchanges that have stopped enrollment goals from being met.

Hawaii and Massachusetts are also being targeted.

Although Massachusetts already had a well-functioning state-mandated health insurance system that served as the model for the Affordable Care Act, it had to make changes to comply with the new federal law. Only 5,428 people were able to get coverage from October through December after the changes.

Democratic Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is running for governor and has threatended to sue CGI, which was in charge of revamping the state's system as well as the federal exchange.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton was hoping for an easy re-election, but now is forced to deal with a glitch-filled system he championed. MNsure, as the program is called, is not expected to be fully functional by the March 31 deadline when people are supposed to have insurance.

Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown has problems of his own. He hopes to succeed outgoing Gov. Martin O’Malley, but is being bashed not only by Republicans, but Democratic primary opponents. Brown had been named the point man on Maryland's exchange by O’Malley

"People see incompetence when they look at this," Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Short told The Times. "Everyone that’s associated with it is going to have to deal with the consequences of this terrible law, including the state legislators who created these exchanges and the governors in charge of running them."

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