Onward Into The Breach: Anthony Brown & Maryland's Health Insurance Exchange

Jan 16, 2014

Credit Tom Chalkley

Welcome, once again, to the world of shocking government failure.

Two examples: Chris Christie’s George Washington Bridge caper and Anthony Brown’s health care sign-up fiasco.

Are these people living in bubbles? Did they really think no one would find out what they were doing, or not doing? The healthcare sign-up website in Maryland was, to put it mildly “unstable.” And squeezing three lanes of traffic into one on the world’s most traveled bridge? Maybe Christie’s staff was unstable.

The Christie prank has led to a kind of unmasking. After his smart collaboration with President Obama on clean-up after Superstorm Sandy, he looked pragmatic and decisive. Now he looks petty and vindictive. At least he said he was sorry.

Lt. Gov. Brown declined to apologize. What real good would that do? Good question. And yet someone has to be accountable. The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post have shown us how seriously flawed the system was from the beginning.   Sen. Barbara Mikulski, as she was endorsing Brown for governor , hailed his work on the rollout. She was in the dark, I guess, like the rest of us.

My guess about what really happened in Maryland? Almost everybody saw disaster in the making – from the federal site to Maryland’s.  But they couldn’t stop or pause or come clean. Republicans were jumping on every opportunity to slow down Obamacare and kill it. So onward into the breach. I heard from a good Democratic source 6 weeks ago that the computer system was broken – and couldn’t be fixed.  Brown says it’s 99 percent fixed now.

His campaign for governor was based heavily on his stewardship of the rollout.  Seems like a weak reed.

And Chris Christie’s race for President?

Enough said, for the moment.

Your comments are welcome at fsmith@wypr.org.