Maryland, just days before the official open enrollment period for Obamacare ends, has decided to ditch the troubled exchange for their own system. The official Obamacare exchange website has been the butt of jokes and undergone much criticism due to the many glitches and issues people have experienced while trying to use the site to purchase health insurance.
The Maryland board will be holding a vote on Tuesday, the day after the deadline, to change the flawed system, which is believed to have cost $125.5 million. While the systems are being changed, residents of the state will still be able to access the Obamacare exchange, enabling individuals to sign up for coverage before the enrollment period ends.
Maryland’s health exchange was officially rolled out on October 1, but was plagued by serious technological issues that made it difficult and frustrating for citizens to sign up for health insurance. While many of the bugs were fixed, more problems continued to arise, which is one of the reasons they are opting to go with their own health exchange rather than one created by the federal government.
Maryland is not the only state that considers the federal Obamacare exchange more misery than it is worth, as several other states including Connecticut, are ditching it and building their own exchanges. This speaks volumes about the ineptness of the federal government to oversee health care, because if something as simple as a website is giving them fits, how can they be trusted to provide good judgment when helping individuals find a health plan to meet their needs?
One issue with the exchange that Maryland has experienced is stuck applications. This particular problem has been an issue for the last six months, and despite consistently patching things in the system, it is still not functioning properly, causing major delays in getting applications processed. These issues are not just a drain on a person’s patience, as it is estimated that the defective exchange could end up costing the state $30.5 million. This cost is a result of the state not being able to determine the eligibility of certain individuals for the Medicaid program, as this is tied in with the exchange.
Anyone who is a big supporter of government involvement in health care should be feeling very uneasy about the results Obamacare has produced so far. The Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, which gave the federal government, an entity with basically unlimited resources, three years to create a fully functioning website to enable people to purchase health insurance through the exchange. This has failed on a massive scale. As if that is not enough, the actual insurance coverage purchased through the exchange has not lived up to the hype. Many stories continue to come to light, highlighting increases in premium costs, medical treatments and procedures that are not being covered, and individuals who are losing their health insurance plan. Maryland ditching the federal Obamacare exchange for one created by their own state speaks volumes about the disasters that are sure to come as long as the government continues to get involved in the health care industry.
Opinion by Michael Cantrell