A decision regarding Maryland's troubled health care website has the support of one local lawmaker. Sixth District Congressman John Delaney (D-Md.) calls the vote on the Maryland Health Benefits Exchange website "the right thing to do for the people of our state."
The Board of Directors for the Maryland Health Benefits Exchange decided on Tuesday night to adopt the technology developed by Deloite Consultants. It has been used by the State of Connecticut, and it was able to get more than 74,000 people to successfully sign up. In Maryland, about 60,000 people signed up which is short of the goal the state set of 150,000.
"People like me gave them very strong advice on this early on which is drop your system and move to the federal system," says Delaney. "And they didn't. They had this kind of overly optimistic and fact-based view that they could fix the problem. And they ended up not fixing the problem, and a lot of Marylanders got hurt as a result."
The State of Maryland's website began operations in October, 2013. It was plagued with problems then. Some fixes were made, but it still didn't work right. "What happened with the federal site was pretty obvious which is they designed a good system, but they didn't have the interfaces built correctly. So when they launched it and it didn't work. But they were able to fix it pretty quickly and it started working very well," he says. The federal web site signed up more than 7-million people, according to Delaney.
He says the state's had "a structural architectural problem. In other words, the fundamental system didn't work."
Monday was the final day to sign up, but some people who were able to get on line and couldn't finish up the enrollment process were given some more time.
"We have to remember that strategy is important, but execution is important too. And I think what we've seen here in Maryland is really bad execution," says Delaney.
Critics of the Affordable Care Act have pointed to the websites' difficulties as a reason to repeal the law entirely. In fact, a number of Republican candidates running for federal office have promised to scrap the law, if they're elected. But Delaney disagrees. "It's an important piece of legislation that I think in the fullness of time will be proven to be an important thing for a lot of Americans and help lower health care costs. We've already seen it lowering health care costs," he says.