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Inside Maryland Politics
WYPR's Senior News Analyst opines on recent Maryland news.

Hurray For Harris For Demanding Accountability

Tom Chalkley
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First, you thought: how did Republican Congressman Andy Harris get a Democratic administration to investigate Maryland’s health care reform rollout?

Then you learn: results aren’t likely ‘til 2015. According to my calendar, that’s well after the 2014 gubernatorial primaries and election.

Still, hurray for the GOP gentleman from Maryland’s Eastern Shore. He’s showing the importance of a two-party state – a state in which someone would be demanding transparency and accountability when it matters.

Like now. We should know who was minding the store when several hundred million dollars in taxpayer money bought us apparently insoluble problems, not to speak of deep embarrassment.

Few of us would be willing to say that processing hundreds of insurance applications should have been easy. But when the system was quietly cratering, Gov. Martin O’Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown were suggesting it would be state of the art.

Even if these men are right when they blame the contractors, they should  be held accountable to the taxpayer.  It happened, as they say, on their watch. They say they didn’t know. Gubernatorial candidate Brown, in particular, was the point man. Wasn’t “knowing” his responsibility? If the system was so lame, how could he not know? It crashed on Day One.

The governor rightly points out that Congressman Harris was no fan of the new system. And that would be putting it mildly. His party has tried for years now to make the system fail.  The effort nearly succeeded.

And now we must wait many months for answers about whose failures kept so many Marylanders uninsured.

Insurance coverage delayed is a little like what they say about justice: coverage delayed is coverage denied.

Your comments are welcome at fsmith@wypr.org.