I have my differences with Maryland Reporter columnist Barry Rascovar, but his latest column correctly identifies the central issue in this year’s Maryland election: the failed rollout of the state’s Obamacare health exchange, which Rascovar calls an “immense fiasco,” a “monumental disaster that should have been foreseen,” even “the costliest debacle in Maryland state history.” Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who is now the Democratic candidate for governor, had been assigned to oversee the rollout as his big project, having few other duties attached to his position. The results could be summed up in a
now-classic Internet meme: You Had One Job.
As if this were not enough, Lt. Gov. Brown and Gov. Martin O’Malley sat back while state health secretary Josh Sharfstein loyally fell on his sword to take blame that was far from his alone. Rascovar:
Even worse, they [Brown and O’Malley] connived with legislative leaders to cover up the true story by avoiding an in-depth accounting of what went wrong until mid-2015. This intentional lack of transparency and accountability will remain an indelible blot on the O’Malley-Brown administration. It will haunt both of them in the years ahead.
Sharfstein took the fall at legislative hearings. He was the only one connected with this ill-fated project to apologize and take responsibility for a truly screwed-up rollout.
It’s a devastating episode because, for all the state’s general leanings toward the Democratic Party, swing voters in Maryland still place a premium on competence and independence. After watching his performance in the health exchange debacle, who could be confident that Anthony Brown will display either?