This website has documented extensively the failings of the Massachusetts Health Connector Authority in rolling out an Obamacare compliant website. To recap, in June of 2013, the Massachusetts legislature, pushed by Steven Walsh of Lynn, voted to enact Obamacare in Massachusetts and authorize the Health Connector to change software from a fully functioning website that cost approximately $3.5M to develop, to a website slated to cost $69M to develop. As we all now know the website has never functioned properly and the Commonwealth, through federal grants, has spent $11M on this.
Throughout the process Governor Patrick has downplayed concerns about the Connector Exchange redesign saying that reform is “not about a website.” Former Democratic State Representative, and former director of the liberal public policy group Health Care for All, laid into the Governor today on his Boston.com blog.
I was waiting to hear the Governor share with the Commonwealth his plans to get the Health Insurance Connector website working at an acceptable rate. It’s nearly four months now since it’s been officially and completely dysfunctional. And now we know that the Administration was warned of this impending calamity as early as last July. If there has not been a conspiracy of silence in leveling with the public about what’s gone wrong and how it will be fixed, our responsible state officials, including Governor Patrick, are all doing a fine imitation of one.
So what did the Governor have to say? Here’s what I was able to hear:
“…fix the Connector website … solutions not just fault.”
This is unacceptable. I can’t name a single Massachusetts official who is leveling with the public on this national embarrassment. From what I hear, second and third hand, four months into this disaster, the Patrick Administration has no plan.
No plan. No explanation. No hope. By federal stats, we’re the worst in the nation in enrollment, number 50 out of 50. Other states — Minnesota, Oregon, Maryland — are facing their own website catastrophes. In those states, their Governors are out front offering explanations to their citizens.
You may remember that McDonough’s former organization received millions of dollars in grants to sell Obamacare in Massachusetts. This is no the Pioneer Institute taking issue with this Governor. This is one of the Governor’s natural allies.
The failure of Obamacare in Massachusetts should be one of the central campaign themes of every candidate in Massachusetts, at every level. It is a story of government failing that must be told. There are real, human, elements to the story.
Charlie Baker is absolutely right. It is time to demand a waiver and go back to the system that was working for Massachusetts, however flawed it was. A one size fits all approach is not the way to go.