Apr
15
2014
2

Wintry mix. In April. Geez.

Two things about this:

 

  1. This weather is, indeed, ridiculous.  It’s Maryland in mid-April. I was promised that climate change would provide me with more wet and warm weather. I do not feel that this promise has been fulfilled, and I wish to lodge a complaint with the relevant authorities.
  2. That’s from the camera for the latest-generation iPod.  It is noticeably better than the last-generation iPod’s camera: if you were thinking of upgrading, I think that this should be a consideration.
Apr
14
2014
5

Maryland TV station casually assigns sole blame for #obamacare to Democrats.

The video itself is of interest (short version: local Maryland supermarket won’t hire more people, thanks to Obamacare):

…but it’s this screen shot from the clip that makes me feel all warm, fuzzy, and productive:

(more…)

Apr
10
2014
1

Maryland’s new #Obamacare repair Czarina married to top person at new vendor.

Well, isn’t that cozy.

Background: this is from a 2009 judgement by the Maryland State Board of Contract Appeals on an appeal by tech firm Accenture  alleging a most traditional conflict of interest in a job bid process (a process that Accenture lost, and a firm called ACS won): “According to Appellant, [then-Chief Information Officer for the Maryland Department of Human Resources] Ms. [Isabel] FitzGerald is married to a Mr. Paul FitzGerald who Accenture claims “is a Principal at the firm Deloitte, LLP, and ACS identified Deloitte as a subcontractor for ACS on this procurement.”” Turns out that the appeals court didn’t buy that argument.  OK.

Now let us fast forward to 2014.  The existing Maryland state exchange is collapsing, and the state is desperate to salvage what they can from the wreck: “…the board overseeing Maryland’s health exchange voted unanimously Tuesday to ask federal officials for their approval — and $40 million to $50 million more in funding — to hire Deloitte Consulting to replicate its work on the exchange in Connecticut.”  And, yes, Mr. Fitzgerald is still at Deloitte.  And where is Mrs. Fitzgerald? Still the MD DHR CIO?

(more…)

Mar
29
2014
4

Lt Gov. Anthony Brown’s utter failure: Maryland #Obamacare exchange to be scrapped.

Over a hundred million dollars’ worth of tax money – partially my tax money – down the drain: “Maryland officials are set to replace the state’s online health-insurance exchange with technology from Connecticut’s insurance marketplace, according to two people familiar with the decision, an acknowledgment that a system that has cost at least $125.5 million is broken beyond repair.” – This comes two months after Lt. Governor Anthony Brown refused to apologize for the poor behavior of the state exchange, and the O’Malley exchange promised that no replacement was forthcoming.  Guess even a Maryland Democratic politician will notice a brick wall after he’s walked into it a couple of times, eh?

And don’t think that the money hemorrhage has stopped, either! No, now the state of Maryland has to set up a new database, make sure that it is in compliance with Maryland state regulations – not Connecticut’s – make sure that it actually works… and, oh yes, reintegrate the existing database records with the new ones.  Because there are almost 50,000 people in the old system, and if Maryland isn’t careful all of those people will probably lose their healthcare, at least temporarily. …Oh, Shorter Moe Lane: Database conversions are Hell. On. Earth. Here’s your accordion. (more…)

Mar
19
2014
18

Maryland to go after e-cigs for… very little reason, as far as I can tell.

I’m having real difficulty interpreting this as anything except legislators allowing their existing fears of The Demon Tobacco to turn into religious mania.

Only four states — New Jersey, Utah, Arkansas and North Dakota — have passed legislation banning the use of e-cigarettes in public places.

Now, Maryland lawmakers are weighing a measure that would prohibit the use of e-cigarettes wherever traditional cigarettes are banned.

The bill, sponsored by Delegate Aruna Miller, D-Montgomery, would place e-cigarettes under the definition of “smoking” in the Maryland Clean Indoor Air Act of 2007.

(more…)

Jan
12
2014
2

WaPo: Maryland Democrats knew #Obamacare state exchange launch wouldn’t work.

This Washington Post article starts bad for the O’Malley administration…

More than a year before Maryland launched its health insurance exchange, senior state officials failed to heed warnings that no one was ultimately accountable for the $170 million project and that the state lacked a plausible plan for how it would be ready by Oct. 1.

Over the following months, as political leaders continued to proclaim that the state’s exchange would be a national model, the system went through three different project managers, the feuding between contractors hired to build the online exchange devolved into lawsuits, and key people quit, including a top information technology official because, as he would later say, the project “was a disaster waiting to happen.”

…and it never particularly gets any better for them, either.  One reads this article with mixed emotions: on the one hand, it describes an unmitigated disaster that ended in screaming, wild accusations, ongoing lawsuits, and quite a lot of pain for quite a lot of innocent people*. On the other hand? I didn’t do it. Heck, I am one of the people who told them that the sites weren’t going to work. (more…)

Jan
06
2014
3

Maryland inadvertently experiments with cross-state #obamacare plans.

Alternative title: why must you do this to me democrats i dont even my pain fills the stars

Marylanders who use the federal health reform site to search for navigators who can help them enroll in health plans in-person are getting directed to agencies in other states.

…Which is nice of Maryland, given the way that Gov. Martin O’Malley* and the rest of his Democratic krew have utterly [expletive deleted] up the state exchange already.  And note the tense: this is happening right now.  Your guess is as good as mine as to when, or if, it gets fixed.

(more…)

Dec
23
2013
1

Maryland’s clown-show gubernatorial Democratic primary heats up. #Obamacare

This is going to be a gloriously ugly primary campaign

Washington has been locked for months in a series of partisan battles over the law known as Obamacare, as well as battles within the GOP over how best to oppose the ACA. But it’s the state just to the north that has served up the country’s first Democrat-on-Democrat brawl over the inept implementation of the law, offering perhaps a first test of Democratic voters’ patience with the ACA’s technical setbacks.

In Maryland, the fight to succeed outgoing Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley has pitted [Attorney General Doug] Gansler against state Del. Heather Mizeur and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, the frontrunner for the nomination who chairs the state panel on ACA implementation and has long presented himself as the O’Malley administration’s point man on Obamacare.

(more…)

Dec
18
2013
3

Baltimore Sun: Maryland MUST consider scrapping its state #obamacare exchange.

The sound that you just heard was Martin O’Malley’s Presidential ambitions getting shot in the gut:

…the pace of enrollments is still far too low. If the [Maryland state] exchange is able to replicate its best weekday and weekend performance during every one of the 104 days between now and the end of the open enrollment period on March 31, Maryland will still only achieve about three-quarters of its goal of signing up 150,000 people with private coverage. The site may be better, but better isn’t good enough.

Under those circumstances, the question raised by Rep. John Delaney, a Montgomery County Democrat, about whether it would be better for Maryland to scrap its effort to build its own exchange and instead join the federal one has merit. Indeed, Gov. Martin O’Malley acknowledged on Monday that the option — and all others — remain on the table.

That’s a hard possibility for Governor O’Malley to acknowledge. Under his leadership, Maryland was one of the most aggressive states in the effort to build out its own exchange — a strategic decision that appears in retrospect to have involved no small amount of hubris and political ambition. Walking away now from all that effort and tens of millions in expenditures would be particularly embarrassing.

(more…)

Dec
13
2013
1

…Wait, that wasn’t the *Maryland* #Obamacare exchange director that was off at a tropical beach?

Maryland, Minnesota, both start with M:

MNsure director April Todd-Malmlov took a two-week vacation to Costa Rica around Thanksgiving. Gov. Mark Dayton defended her right to take a pre-scheduled trip, but critics of the fledgling health insurance exchange pounced.

The conservative group Watchdog.org put out a press release Thursday, condemning her absence while “thousands of frustrated Minnesotans were notified about glitches and errors in their applications on the state insurance exchange.”

Then again, so does “massively malignant meltdown.”

Via Jim Geraghty, who is also apparently getting forwarded all the good state exchange disasters. January 2014 is going to be a heck of a month.

Moe Lane

Dec
06
2013
8

Maryland #obamacare exchange director, ahem, ‘resigns.’

Well now.

The executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange resigned Friday.

The chairman of the board of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, Joshua Sharfstein, said Rebecca Pearce worked tirelessly and with dedication for two years to build the Maryland Health Connection.

…Which enrolled only 3,000 people, as of last Thursday.  Apparently that was close enough to the target number that Ms. Pearce felt all right about going ahead on her Cayman Islands vacation.  How are those, anyway?  I hear that they can be nice. (more…)

Nov
11
2013
4

Annapolis Council To Consider Ensuring Eventual Flip of Council To Republican Control.

There. Fixed the title for them.

Annapolis Council To Consider Stripping Republican Mayor-Elect’s Power

Days after a Republican was elected mayor of Annapolis, City Council members say they will revisit legislation that would strip the mayor’s office of much of its power.

[snip]

If the measure is approved, it would mean the Democratic-dominated council would be removing the powers of the first Republican mayor elected since 1997.

Yeah. I can’t possibly see how that could turn out badly for the local Democratic party in the long run.

Moe Lane

PS: Annapolis Democrats are, of course, claiming that the timing of this is a complete coincidence.  I note this claim for the record.

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