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

It's Not All Bad: Some Good News About State's Health Insurance Exchange

Tom Chalkley
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We in the news biz are often accused of caring little about any news that’s not bad news.

That’s not true, but the nature of things works against us. There’s a  lot of bad news out there, and covering it is our job.

To give the matter more immediate context, some might say, 'enough already' about the botched health care launch. Who hasn’t botched something in a computer, after all?

More importantly, people are finding their way through the cyber-wreckage. We are a resilient people, and many of us need coverage – badly. The high cost of care and the high cost of insurance are busting family budgets, leaving people with worry that may lead to even more difficult health issues. Worry and stress, we know, are not healthy.

You could ask any number of Marylanders, 43,000 of whom have found a way to overcome the hassles of signing up. Another 194,000 signed up for Medicaid, another target group not easy to find and enroll.

What we learn from all this is something we already know: life happens.

Take Nancy Hughes, for example. She lost her job because of a lack of transportation and because of that, lost her health insurance shortly thereafter.

Fortunately, there was something called Healthcare Access Maryland. In the process of negotiating the system – with the help of a navigator – she learned she was eligible for Medicaid. The navigator also helped her find a primary care physician. She calls the help “a blessing.” Any of us would, given serious health problems, the difficulty of finding care and a way to pay for it.

The advocacy group Health Care for All has found a lot of Nancy Hughes-like stories. Good news stories.

Your feedback is welcome at fsmith@wypr.org.