By Colleen Wilson
ANNAPOLIS (Dec. 13, 2013)—Gov. Martin OMalley on Thursday was the latest in a recent string of Maryland officials who have addressed the lagging performance of the states health care exchange implementation.
Maryland is seeing small, but steady increases in health care enrollments since the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act went into effect Oct. 1 despite technology and department hiccups along the way.
OMalley outlined nine problems with the website itself, six of which, he said, have been fixed. The primary problem still affecting the Maryland Health Connection site, which is the states marketplace for health insurance, is screen-freezing, he said at the press conference.
Weve made progress diagnosing that, OMalley said, explaining that the problem was two-fold: glitching Internet browsers and enroll button malfunctions.
OMalley announced that more than 5,000 individuals have signed up for private insurance plans through the state health exchange. The private insurance carriers have increased enrollees by more than 1,500 since a Dec. 6 report from the exchange.
Despite the glitches, the governor emphasized that his administration still plans to meet its long-standing goals of enrolling 150,000 in private plans and 110,000 in Medicaid, the health insurance program for low-income families that is taking the place of Marylands Primary Adult Coverage program.
So bottom line: Weve made progress by degrees, OMalley said. This is not like ordering a book on Amazon. Each person that applies is unique in terms of the family, the number of people in their family, their income levels
the final result is when we click on and elect a plan.
Also in attendance at the press conference was Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who was charged with overseeing the health care rollout, and Carolyn Quattrocki, the executive director of health care reform in the OMalley administration. Brown, who is running for governor, held a press conference Dec. 10 after getting heat from governor opponent Attorney General Doug Gansler about the series of setbacks.
Quattrocki also recently took on the responsibility of interim executive director of Maryland Health Connection after Rebecca Pearce stepped down from the position Dec. 6. The day before Pearces resignation, she and Quattrocki answered questions from state delegates about the health care website and its progress going forward.
But Thursday, it was OMalleys turn in the spotlight, taking questions from a room of reporters.