Democrat primary fights over ObamaCare?
Fox News points to an interesting bit of party strife in Maryland, where Democrats are turning against each other over the ObamaCare disaster. The rollout of Maryland’s state exchange was an absolute horror, and the gubernatorial challenger sounds positively Tea Party as he rips into the current governor’s designated successor:
Despite Maryland Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley being among the first to embrace the Affordable Care Act and create an online exchange, the state-run site has had a disastrous start, like the federal exchange. This has left gubernatorial frontrunner and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who helped lead the local ObamaCare launch, taking hits from fellow Democrats.
“It’s almost like a Saturday Night Live skit,” primary challenger and Attorney General Doug Gansler told reporters last week. “It’s comical that it’s not working. … It’s tragic for folks who don’t have access to health care.”
This seems more like criticism over botched implementation and poor managerial skills than turning on ObamaCare itself as a bad idea, but maybe we’ll see more of the latter in Democrat primaries as 2014 grinds along. Gansler is still far behind Brown in the race, but you can bet a lot of attention will be paid if he starts closing the gap based on ObamaCare criticism.
Maryland Democrat politics sound delightfully arrogant. As a strong supporter of federalism, I love it when states talk smack to each other. It’s great for the spirit of interstate competition!
“Brown and others were so boastful about Maryland leading the country [but] here we are behind such states as Nevada and Kentucky, let alone California and states like that,” Gansler recently told Politico.
Fewer than 4,000 Marylanders enrolled in the first two months, well short of the goal of 25,500. Just 7,435 have signed up through the first three weeks of December, though O’Malley says the site problems essentially have been fixed.
Brown, as co-chairman of the Maryland Health Care Reform Coordinating Council, was the two-term governor’s point man on improving health care across the state.
And though Brown was not directly involved in building the site, Gansler has nevertheless blamed him for failed leadership and for being part of an administration that outsourced website work to North Dakota while Maryland has “literally the smartest people in the country.”
Embrace the suck, California! Speaking of which, I’ll leave it to connoisseurs of statist failure to decide whether their state exchange is a bigger disaster than Maryland’s, but the Sacramento Bee makes it sound like a close race:
Margaret Rhode didn’t procrastinate.
As soon as enrollment for health insurance plans began in October, she was on the Covered California website, seeking coverage for her 52-year-old son. Applying online, however, turned out to be more complicated than she had anticipated.
“I tried to apply online and it wouldn’t let me,” Rhode said, “I was able to connect over the phone and they told me the site was down, try again later.”
Rhode, a Rancho Cordova resident, finally gave up on the website and submitted a paper application in mid-November for a Blue Shield policy for her son.
Since then, silence.
“I haven’t received any acknowledgement” from Covered California or Blue Shield, Rhode said. “I don’t even know how they’re supposed to contact me.”
Amusing efforts are made to make 400,000 enrollments in California as of Deadline Day sound like a big deal, even though that number constitutes failure of freaking cosmic proportions in a state with such a large population. Especially when you consider that a mere 150,000 of them were actually ObamaCare purchases – the rest are, as usual, Medicaid enrollments falsely added into the total by propagandists looking to disguise the extent of ObamaCare failure. Remember, anyone who gives you an ObamaCare number that includes Medicaid applicants is either a criminally lazy and negligent journalist, or an outright Administration propagandist. It won’t matter any more once the “death spiral” kicks in and insurance companies demand their giant taxpayer bailouts next year, but until then, lumping Medicaid into the total is a common trick to be on guard against.
Will the botched state exchange also be a topic of Democrat primary friction in California, and the other states with exchanges that aren’t meeting expectations – which means nearly all of them? How about Democrats running against incumbents who supported ObamaCare in states with large numbers of disgruntled federal exchange customers? Stay tuned! The media is always much quick to pick up on Republican crack-ups, frequently exaggerating them to comical degrees. Let’s see if they keep tabs on the apocalyptic battles brewing in these Democrat primaries.