"The stakes are very high" in this race for the seat Sen. Barbara Mikulski is retiring from, Van Hollen told the Columbia Democratic Club. "There is no way Democrats win back the U.S. Senate without winning the Maryland senate seat. We cannot take anything for granted."
How high will it go? How much more will it cost the O’Malley-Brown administration to fix or totally replace the dysfunctional online health insurance system that it bragged about until the software crashed on Day One?
It already is the most costly debacle in state history.
Almost half of Marylanders still think the new health care law will have a positive impact on the quality of health care in Maryland, a new Goucher poll found. But only half of those surveyed said they had heard of the website MarylandHealthConnection.gov, the state's access portal for health insurance.
The respondents also believed the insurance companies were the most prepared to handle the implementation of the health insurance reform and the federal government was the least prepared.
State officials have been talking a lot about the high number of uninsured Marylanders who will have access to Obamacare, but not all are eligible to sign up.
Of the state's estimated 750,000 to 800,000 uninsured residents, only 480,500 -- or roughly 60% -- are eligible to enroll for health insurance plans under President Obama's signature health care law, according to the federal health care website HealthCare.gov.
One of Maryland’s six health care groups contracted to enroll Marylanders in Obamacare health insurance plans has found a way around computer glitches the state has been experiencing since the health insurance exchange opened Oct. 1 — they’re going back to paper.
Healthy Howard, which services residents of six Western Maryland counties, has only been able to complete enrollment on the computer system for five people since the exchange opened. After being open one week, the state had enrolled only 326 people through its site.
Sen. Ben Cardin, a strong advocate for 2010 Affordable Care Act, said that he was disappointed in the Obama administration for delaying the penalty on large employers who don’t offer insurance. Cardin told a roundtable of health care providers in Waldorf on Monday, "I was kind of disappointed. I was hoping that we could implement it."
State officials are working to make sure people being released from prison will sign up for benefits during the 2014 Medicaid expansion.
When the enrollment date for individual health plans rolls around in October, former inmates will also be eligible for health plans offered in state health care exchanges, another part of the “Obamacare” Affordable Care Act implementation. But health advocates say that at best it’s more likely they’ll be signing up for Medicaid, because of their low incomes.
Facing a $1 million cut, the Maryland Department of Aging is focusing on providing more at-home services to keep the elderly out of costly nursing homes.
Coming on the heels of last year’s $4 million budget cuts, the $1 million cut in the governor’s fiscal 2014 budget is 2% of the department’s overall budget. At the same time, the department is confronting the needs of the rapidly-aging Baby Boomer generation.