Cumberland Times-News


January 6, 2014

A bad start

Md. lags in signup rate for health care plan

Unless Gov. Martin O’Malley can get the Maryland General Assembly to give him a quick fix for the state’s shaky health exchange signup system the whole process should be handed over to the federal exchange.

Maryland’s signup rate is lagging other states so far. Rep. John Delaney (D-Md. Sixth) — who favors using the federal exchange — said of the 2.1 million people signed up nationwide, only 18,257 are Maryland residents.

"We have fallen quite far behind the national average and we're running out of time," Delaney said in a letter to Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Maryland’s state health secretary. Delaney said he has heard from frustrated and concerned residents throughout his district, which stretches from Garrett County to Montgomery County.

O’Malley hasn’t ruled out handing the process over to the federal exchange. But he said he plans to seek emergency legislation when the General Assembly convenes Wednesday that will provide retroactive coverage to Marylanders who have not been able to sign up because of technical problems. State officials are not sure how many people have had a signup problem, but said it could be as many as 5,000.

"Whatever works best to serve the greatest numbers of people most quickly is what we will do," O'Malley, a Democrat, said at a Friday briefing with Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown.

Like the federal website, the Maryland website has had problems ever since it began operation last Oct. 1.

While the O'Malley administration has said the state website has seen improvements in recent weeks, problems have continued. The state has had many more enrollments through Medicaid, which boosts the number of people enrolled under the Affordable Care Act in Maryland to 152,892, the O'Malley administration says. The state hopes to enroll a total of 260,000 people by March 31.

Whatever the case, Marylanders who are trying to enroll in the new health care plan should not be denied coverage because of a faulty website. If the state site cannot handle the workload, then use the federal site. Either way, make sure all Marylanders who have experienced problems are given retroactive coverage.

Text Only
  • About time About time

    Although many Cumberland streets are in need of repair and improvements, the decision by city and county officials to address Greene Street is a good one.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where is it?

    Once upon a time, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce held its annual conventions at the Bedford Springs resort hotel near Bedford, which is in Pennsylvania.

    July 28, 2014

  • Korean War Korean War

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sloppy lawmaking is to blame

    July 27, 2014

  • C-minus grade C-minus grade

    If a survey conducted by and the Kaufman Foundation is an accurate portrayal, Maryland has a long way to go to become a business-friendly state.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big loophole Big loophole

    How ironic — and how sad — that the Potomac Highlands Airport Authority plans a closed executive session to discuss the open meetings law.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Preposterous Preposterous

    File this one under the We Thought We’d Heard Everything category: A man who attempted the armed robbery of a pizza shop is now suing the pizzeria and the employees who tackled him and wrestled his gun away during the holdup.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • No secrets No secrets

    The idea of fracturing for natural gas makes many people anxious about potential harmful effects. For that reason alone, it is incumbent on Maryland government to require full disclosure of chemicals used in the process.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don’t do it. Don’t do it

    Temperatures have been moderate recently but are projected to rise to the upper 80s and low 90s later this week, so we want to remind you: Never leave children unattended in a vehicle.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • July 20, 1969 July 20, 1969

    When Apollo 11 landed on the moon 45 years ago today, it was until that time the mostwatched television programming in history.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo