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As Long as We Remember...

January 16, 2014

Healthcare Rollout Disaster in Maryland

Chris Cavey

We have forgotten the math in the argument about government run and subsidized healthcare. We have turned one of the most important and most costly items on a family's budget over to those who use issues for political advantage…


…When they fail on implementation or promise, we just watch as costly repairs and band-aids are applied, then we forget when we later reach the ballot box.


Gov. Martin O'Malley prides himself of his "tech-like" efficiencies. He is known as a rising star nationally, and these alleged abilities are always on his résumé. Yet, oversight of the costly healthcare exchange in Maryland was apparently less important than the national spotlight as he is now making deals with insurance companies for retroactive coverage due to Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown bungling of the job.


There is evidence over a year old warning of the pitfalls of the Maryland Exchange – assumedly they went unread, unanswered or perhaps just filed as unimportant in the vast amount of other paperwork. Lieutenant Governor Brown, as of this past week, still appeared dazed and confused as to what went wrong. Perhaps it was no oversight and a lack of leadership?


Due to poor oversight the balance sheet on the cost of the Maryland Health Insurance Program is once again out of balance with the announcement that emergency legislation will be enacted to retroactively repair the mistakes of Maryland's rollout of the Affordable Care Act – also proving government inefficiencies.


I know of few people who begrudge accessibility of health insurance to anyone. The arguments against are typically based around what specific coverages should be included, the delivery system of the program plus the cost to the consumer and to government. (Note: Government = taxes which is also a cost to tax paying consumers.)


No one I know believes any program administered by the government is efficient. Sure, there are programs which get the job accomplished, but only due to the size and scope needed to be all things to all people which is exacerbated by the historic lack of accountability and the long lines of bureaucracy.


Health insurance is just a math equation, just like all other insurance. Unless doctors, hospitals, labs, etc., wish to work for nothing to provide care, there is always a cost to balance the system for those consumers and patients who pay little or nothing. Unlike providing housing, education or food, healthcare is not quantified in finite terms. It can be very costly at a single moment or for an extended term.


Ambitious politicos are shortsighted, thinking extended term is rarely part of their daily routine except for their political careers. Martin O'Malley wants to be tech-efficient, yet he has no proof Maryland government works with greater efficiency than it did seven years ago. He wanted to give a high profile leadership role to his anointed successor and found out it was a wrong choice – which he is now trying to repair.


Anthony Brown had a rare leadership role placed in his lap and assumed all would be well and he would be a hero. The result has indicated that he incompletely served in this leadership role, which will now cost not only taxpayers, but also those families who are without healthcare waiting for the enacting of the emergency legislation.


Martin O'Malley and Anthony Brown are leaders in their party. Lieutenant Governor Brown has been endorsed by almost every Democrat leader and is touted to be their front-runner. Politically it remains a sad state of affairs in Maryland.


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