Maryland's 'Model' Health Exchange Ailing

Image: Maryland's 'Model' Health Exchange Ailing Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley

Monday, 09 Dec 2013 03:46 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Maryland's health insurance exchange, once lauded as a model of state collaboration with Obamacare, is plagued with technical glitches resulting in only a fraction of the state's 700,000 uninsured having coverage, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The state is one of 14 that agreed to operate its own exchange and authorities had hoped Annapolis would set a pattern of effective implementation.

Now Maryland's exchange, which cost $107 million to develop, has seen enrollments drop and its homepage crash under the weight of volume.

The trouble-plagued federal site handles the 36 states that declined to operate their own exchanges.

Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley had moved swiftly to implement Obamacare at the state level and two years prior to its Oct. 1 launch hired Rebecca Pearce to run the site.
She has now resigned following criticism that she took a vacation during Thanksgiving week while staffers scrambled to keep the site afloat.

State officials blame a dispute between contractors for the technical problems.

The ineffectiveness of Maryland's exchange could damage O'Malley's prospects as a possible contender for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.  

According to the Journal, just 3,758 individuals managed to enroll for private coverage as of the end of November with another 13,296 determined to be Medicaid-eligible.

The Baltimore Sun reported
that Pearce had been enthusiastic earlier in the year about her role in putting the Affordable Care Act into practice. "It's not very often you get a chance to change history. We've built the present, wrapped it, and now we're trying to put the bow on it," she said.

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