February 2014


Maryland exchangeWhile the failures of the federal government’s healthcare website are now legion, individual state exchanges have also had some problems and one of the biggest failures is in Maryland.

Maryland’s exchange was supposed to be a model for then nation, with outgoing Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) hoping to use it as an example of what he accomplished as part of his springboard to a potential 2016 presidential run.  O’Malley was so confident that nothing would go wrong, that he even appointed his Lt. Gov Anthony Brown to oversee the rollout in an effort to assist Brown who hopes to succeed O’Malley as governor in November.

But all has not gone well.  The exchange has been been plagued by numerous problems and a panicked O’Malley has even convinced the Democratically controlled legislature to pass emergency legislation to provide insurance for those that weren’t able to obtain coverage by January 1.  This is expected to cost the state between $5 million to $10 million and is seen by Republican legislators as both a sign of the exchange’s failure as well as an unnecessary expense.

I know these problems are real and heard from a friend of mine yesterday who was very frustrated with her experience in obtaining a new policy.

Here is what she wrote to me;

Yes, I’m one of those who had a great health plan..not through work..our premium was 1203 a month..we were told we could keep it for 2014 ONLY..at 1595 a month..whoa !! same plan ?!? ..sooo I went to md health connection…which was a 6 week endeavor…applied, enrolled in a plan…started calling CareFirst 1/3/14 to find out what was next…between the two i have over 100 hours worth of hold time…even took days off work to get this done..was told there was a glitch in getting my paperwork..then was told they were given the wrong amount..yet, they still telling me i had to pay for January …ummm..January is over…and now February is half way through…last thing i heard they had the wrong amount, also, showing no monthly credit…still waiting…i even faxed them screen shots of the my pages from md health connection website..still nothing..no change..no insurance..its infuriating !!! I’ve been trying to pay for my plan since 1/3/14…its more than scary not having coverage..i did everything the way i was “told” to do it..everything on my end done correctly..yet, I’m stuck..no one to call, no one to get answers from…

She was perfectly happy with her old plan, but couldn’t stomach a 32.5% increase in the premium for the same plan.  An increase that wasn’t uncommon for CareFirst policy  holders, and a direct result of the implementation of Obamacare.  She then went to the Maryland exchange seeking the affordable insurance that President Obama promised only to wind up in a maze of bureaucracy and without insurance.

This type of foul up has marred the O’Malley administration and provided fodder for Brown’s main Democratic challenger Doug Gansler who has been hitting Brown over the failures of the exchange, but has also been forced to walk a tight line so that he doesn’t give the Republicans the edge they desperately need in what has been a one-party state for decades.

My friend isn’t the only victim of Obamacare but could easily serve as a poster child for the failures of the program.

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Hogan

With Martin O’Malley finishing up his second and final term in office Maryland voters will now face the choice of choosing a new governor giving Republicans a chance of reclaiming the governor’s mansion they lost 8 years ago.

But it won’t be easy in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 2-1 statewide as well as a distinct fundraising disadvantage.

Up until last week the Republicans had a choice among three good, but weak candidates, Harford County Executive David Craig, Del. Ron George and former congressional candidate Charles Lollar.

While they are all good men, they all suffer from having a small base of support  and aren’t very well known across the state among voters, including Republicans.

That changed last week with the much anticipated announcement  that former Ehrlich administration cabinet secretary and longtime political activist Larry Hogan was entering the race.

While Hogan’s late entry will make it even more of a challenge in the fundraising department,  he comes into the race with a huge built in advantage over his opponents- a 75,000 plus email list that he has built over the last few years through his Change Maryland organization.

As a matter of fact Hogan has been preparing for this run as soon as he started Change Maryland, by building name recognition and support and traveling throughout the state giving speeches and stumping for other candidates.

The probability that Hogan would eventually enter the race has no doubt contributed to the poor fundraising to date by his now opponents as donors have largely held off  contributing to Craig, George and Lollar in any significant fashion while waiting for Hogan to make an official announcement.  The last financial disclosure reports show that Craig has $183,000 on hand, George $15,000 and Lollar $6,000.  That pales in comparison to Democrats  Lt Gov. Anthony Brown with $7 million and Attorney General Doug Gansler with $6.3 million on hand.

With such a huge fundraising disadvantage, Hogan and the Republican Party should hope that Brown and Gansler have a knock-down-drag-out fight that will forces them to spend a large chunk of their funds and leave the primary winner, bloodied and bruised from the fight, giving Hogan an opening.

This will be a long-shot bid as they usually are for the GOP.  This isn’t like 2002 when former Rep. Bob Ehrlich became the first Republican governor since Spiro Agnew when he faced the one of the worst possible candidates the Democrats could run- Lt. Gov Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who only added her maiden name when she thought it would help her chances.  Ehrlich subsequently lost to O’Malley twice, with the 2010 campaign being an utter disaster.

Lt. Gov. Brown isn’t a particularly strong candidate, and he has been stung by Gansler for the problems with the Maryland health exchange which O’Malley put him in charge of to help his campaign, but his connections and fundraising make him a formidable opponent.  Gansler has been planning for this run for years, and will have to work very hard to beat Brown and will also be quite formidable should he win the primary.

Rather than go through a cash-draining primary the other candidates should drop out before the primary and clear the path for Hogan.  They need to be united and not divided if they really want a legitimate shot at winning and turning back the Democratic tide that has infected the state.

ObamaSuperBowl

President Obama was interviewed prior to the Super Bowl on Sunday, and spent most of his time defending his actions while avoiding directly answering O’Reilly’s questions.

During the extended interview which was taped, O’Reilly asked Obama if he thought he had been unfair during the live interview and Obama answered in the affirmative.

Absolutely, of course you are, Bill. But I like you anyway.

O’Reilly then asked him in what way was he unfair.

We just went through an interview in which you asked about health care not working, IRS, were we wholly corrupt, Benghazi.

Uh, what did he expect?  Questions about  Michelle’s 50th birthday or what Sasha and Malia will do after Obama leaves the White House?

The questions that O’Reilly asked were ones that his administration has tried to avoid directly answering because they don’t have a good answer and it exposes the web of lies that the administration has been hiding behind.

O’Reilly did what he had to do and he was both respectful and fair.  The left thinks otherwise which only reinforces this as they were squirming along with Obama.

As a matter of fact O’Reilly could have been tougher and dug deeper, but he didn’t and that’s okay because he still made Obama uncomfortable which everyone who watched could see.