#Obamacare: Maryland considers dumping its non-functional exchange

**Posted by Phineas

satire oops embarrassed button

Hey, remember how the state exchanges were supposed to be the examples of Obamacare exchanges that actually worked well? (1) You might not be hearing that claim much longer, now that Maryland, one of the enthusiastic early recruits, is open to the idea of shutting down its exchange:

That said, the pace of enrollments is still far too low. 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.

That’s a hard possibility for Governor O’Malley to acknowledge. Under his leadership, Maryland was one of the most aggressive states in the effort to build out its own exchange — a strategic decision that appears in retrospect to have involved no small amount of hubris and political ambition. Walking away now from all that effort and tens of millions in expenditures would be particularly embarrassing.

It would also have policy implications. Maryland decided to build the kind of exchange it did because officials wanted to create something of a one-stop portal that would integrate shopping for private plans and enrolling in Medicaid. Theoretically, that would make the system much easier to navigate for families in which, for example, the children are eligible for Medicaid and the parents for private plans. The state also had designs on eventually integrating enrollment for other social services — like food stamps and energy assistance — into one system. Scrapping the state exchange altogether would ensure that none of that would be possible, at least not anytime soon.

That would be sure to make Obama and Sebelius sad. It also would do wonders (he wrote sarcastically) for Governor O’Malley’s dark-horse presidential prospects. (2) Well, that and the Baltimore jail scandal.

via David Freddoso, whose newsletter you should subscribe to.

Meanwhile, The New York Times, of all papers, reports “broad skepticism” (3) regarding the Affordable Care Act:

The poll found that just one-third of uninsured Americans expect the law, the Affordable Care Act, to improve the nation’s health care system, while the same proportion think the law will help them personally, according to the poll.

Overall, there is no consensus among uninsured Americans on how the health care system will fare once the law takes effect. While one-third expect improvement, two-thirds anticipate either a worsening or no difference at all.

“It will hurt everybody in the long run,” said Cat Ping, 55, of Indianapolis in a follow-up interview. Ms. Ping, who does not have insurance, added: “I don’t care how they spin it, Obamacare is not affordable. It’s wrecking our total economy.”

Emphasis added. I dunno. I’d call two-thirds approaching a consensus on at minimum the law’s uselessness, wouldn’t you?

Some people have gone beyond skepticism to fighting back. In that newly-born hotbed of resistance against Progressive busybody-ism, Colorado (4), two state legislators have had an interesting idea: they’ve introduced a bill that would grant a state tax credit to anyone fined taxed under Obamacare for not having insurance:

Reps. Dan Nordberg of Colorado Springs and Jared Wright of Grand Junction announced that they will introduce a bill to give a tax credit to anyone who gets fined for not buying health insurance — at an amount equal to the federal penalty under the Affordable Care Act for not purchasing insurance.

The pair of conservatives are calling it the “Healthcare Liberty Act.”

“Many Colorado families are relying on us as their elected representatives to try to mitigate the adverse effects of Obamacare,” Wright said. “Our bill is an appropriate response to the tax penalty and will help people in Colorado who simply cannot afford this expensive new government health insurance mandate.”

I like it: rewarding people for defying an unjust law. It won’t get through the Democrat-controlled state senate nor past the Democrat governor, but it’s one heck of an appealing idea. And it will give state Republicans another nice club to beat Democrats with in the upcoming elections, especially with the exchange doing so well that its director wants a bonus.

via Jim Geraghty

RELATED: More bad news for Obamacare fans.

(1) Relatively, compared to the total train wreck that is the federal exchange.
(2) No kidding. The Democratic bench is so thin that this hack is considered to have serious, albeit second-tier prospects.
(3) This is news only to MSNBC viewers and Santa Monica liberals, of which there is probably a considerable overlap.
(4) Where the Blue grip has suddenly become shaky. Must be Michelle Malkin’s influence.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Comments are closed.