From Friends of Doug Gansler:
Gansler Statement on Maryland’s Plans to Abandon Its Failed Health Exchange
Tonight, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Douglas Gansler released the following statement after the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange board voted to abandon the state’s irreparably broken exchange and to adopt Connecticut’s platform:
“Tonight’s decision to abandon a $261 million broken website is the direct result of Lt. Governor Anthony Brown’s failure to fight for the Affordable Care Act. He put spin and posturing ahead of hard work and health care, and the proof is in the pudding: Maryland is more than 130,000 enrollees short of Brown’s own goal, yet he’s called it a success. If this is his definition of success, I don’t want to know what failure looks like. Perhaps he should look to President Obama as a model of effective leadership: In the last six months, the President rolled up his sleeves, got the federal website functioning, and spent just about every waking moment asking the American people to buy health insurance. What has Lt. Governor Brown done besides hand out glossy brochures bragging about his leadership?
“Hopefully in adopting Connecticut’s platform, the state will move responsibility to someone else who can finally get the job done. I hope to see more transparency and accountability moving forward, and an accounting of the money already spent.”
From the Office of Congressman Andy Harris:
Statement from Rep. Harris on the Maryland Exchange Decision Rep. Harris Appears on National Media Talking About Failed MD Exchange
Congressman Andy Harris, M.D., released the following statement after the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Board of Trustees met this evening in Hanover, Md. During the meeting, the board voted on a plan to replace Maryland’s troubled health insurance exchange website with technology from Connecticut’s exchange.
“This evening, the board of the Maryland health exchange voted to abandon the state’s failed online exchange and to adopt the technology used in Connecticut’s exchange, instead of joining the federal exchange. The board also decided to hire Deloitte, the contractor that built Connecticut’s website. Connecticut has had one of the more successful health care exchange rollouts in the country, while Maryland has had one of the worst. The board was right to stop throwing away even more taxpayer dollars on a system that does not work. Regrettably, as opposed to joining the federal exchange, going with the Connecticut technology will still cost Marylanders tens of millions of dollars more. Plus, there is no assurance it will work in Maryland given the short time until the new open enrollment period this November.”
Congressman Harris appeared on national news outlets ahead of this evening’s vote to discuss the fate of the Maryland exchange. This morning, he appeared on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom. A link to the interview can be found here:
The Congressman was also interviewed for a story on Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier, which aired yesterday evening. You can watch the interview here:
From Friends of David R. Craig:
David Craig: Time for new Leadership on Maryland Health Exchange Board
As the oversight board charged with implementing Obamacare is expected to formally announce ditching the existing website today, Harford County Executive and Maryland candidate for Governor David Craig said much-needed reforms are still missing. Craig called on the Governor to appoint a new chair of the Board and replace others with individuals who have IT, healthcare and insurance-industry experience.
“For starters, the state health secretary needs to be replaced as Chair of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Board,” said Craig, referring to Joshua Sharfstein. “His responses to the botched roll out of Maryland’s exchange have been feeble and his leadership weak, and the Governor needs to take action that acknowledges this serious shortcoming.”
The nine-member Exchange Board, which administers the Maryland Health Connection website, is weighted heavily towards government officials and university professors.
“When an organization is failing, leadership is replaced,” said Craig. “I am deeply troubled that O’Malley believes people aren’t the problem here – of course they are. The health secretary admits he couldn’t control the contractors, so how is he going to control the new ones? The Governor would be doing everyone a favor by appointing an individual with experience in taking over troubled ventures.”
The state’s top elected officials have been dropping hints for nearly a month that Maryland’s exchange will switch to Deloitte Consulting in an attempt to replicate the success that Kentucky and Connecticut have had in utilizing a firm that has developed a functioning website.
“I am concerned that this new firm is in the driver’s seat because they have a desperate and dysfunctional client,” said Craig. “With taxpayers having spent a quarter of a billion dollars already, the state needs a board that has the experience for this complicated undertaking.”
Craig also said Administration health care point man and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown needs to define his role.
“The Governor recently said that fixing the Maryland exchange is similar to changing a flat tire in addition to other poor analogies that attempt to dumb-down the serious problem of people being denied health care. If that’s how the Governor feels, then he should boot out the Lt. Governor from the backseat and make him assist those changing the tires.”
Craig released a plan at the beginning of this year to avoid the under-performing state health exchange and enable consumers to obtain health insurance through other means. The plan consists of ending the current emphasis on Maryland Health Connection and instead diverts marketing and outreach resources to promoting direct enrollment options through insurance carriers or utilizing the assistance of Maryland-based insurance brokers.