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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Time to admit a mistake

     Having to admit a mistake is hard.  This is especially hard for an elected official.  Often their political ambition outweighs the interest of the citizens they serve.  Republican governors who decline to expand Medicaid for low income citizens or implement any aspect of the Affordable Health Care program display this quality.  Their opposition to anything President Obama proposes outweighs any considerations of benefits to their state residents obtaining health care coverage.  However, here in Maryland we have the opposite happening that is having a similar result.  Governor O'Malley's desire to position Maryland as a leader in providing health care coverage for state residents has backfired.  The failure of the Maryland program to enroll residents in the Maryland Health Exchange has left many residents in limbo as to whether they have health insurance as the new year starts.  Our ambitious efforts have proven to be too complicated for the resources provided in its implementation.  While many other state exchanges have been working well Maryland has been embarrassed with a certain level incompetence in getting the exchange to work.  There is nothing wrong with trying something that has a worthy goal and not being successful.  In fact that is how progress is made many times.  The only failure occurs when we blindly resist the reality that something is not working because of our reluctance to acknowledge our failures.  This is especially hard for elected officials who feel that their political viability depends on being infallible.
    I commend Gov. O'Malley for wanting Maryland to be a leader in providing health insurance for our residents but it is time to admit the Maryland rollout of the health exchange is fatally flawed, to scrap it and have Marylanders enroll for insurance though the Federal Health Exchange. Political viability should not outweigh the needs of Marylanders to gain health insurance.


David Michaels said...

First the powers that be will never admit an error in judgement; it is like a major league pitcher admitting he did not have his stuff that game. Then you have the use of the Federal funds that did not all go to the exchange use as intended but went to modernizing the computer hardware around the state. There would have to be some kind of pay back to the Feds which would open Pandora's Box and this would bring more scrutiny.
I do however take notice of people who generalize a thought process by political affiliation. These days everyone has spent a lot of money on education so we have the ability to read and filter what the facts are on our own. All people do not fit in the box that is presented to us
Not every Democrat agree with party decisions especially when they vacillate week to week. Nor do all Republicans agree with each other about Medicare and or ACA regulations. I believe you can make your point with out pointing fingers at groups of people, segregating them from the populous because they do not share your sentiment on an issue.
Say what you will about the new ACA regulations they are not good for working Americans especially if you pay taxes. Again we "middle class" are paying for something we do not need. Why should every new medical policy have pediatric dental build in as a part of it? It only raises the cost making it more expensive of the vast majority who have a minority say in what goes on in regulations.
If health care coverage was really the focus issue then we should cover what is needed and not the extra fluff.
Just think if they really wanted to make national health care work and not focus on "buying elections" they would have thought about using the VA system to build a national health plan. Remember the insurance companies have nothing to loose here, they have Federal agreements that cover their losses which means we pay for it. So every subsidy, every Medicaid application, every price adjustment because of the regs. are paid for buy the working
You can not make a national health care work in a for-profit environment. It should be based on a non-profit system, non-profit nurses, doctors, operating rooms, prescriptions etc. Currently everyone we deal with has to make money at what they do for a living. The VA system is underutilized and could be revitalized if they had thought this through with fiduciary skills.

Harry Schwarz said...

No question the rollout was poorly managed. O'Malley and Brown need to be held accountable and hopefully voters will remember this fiasco when we vote for the next governor.

Nonetheless, I don't know that there is anything to be gained by scrapping the website at this point. I was able to enroll in health insurance for my family via the Maryland Health Exchange around mid-December. I did need a navigator to get started and had to be persistent with the website. I followed up with a phone call to the insurer to confirm enrollment and obtain my ID#.

It looks to me that the website is working relatively well now. We should be acknowledging the work that has been done to fix this mess and not add to the confusion by switching to another computer program.