Maryland's Obamacare glitches don't stick To Brown

At least among Democrats, lieutenant governor appears to survive debacle

Gubernatorial frontrunners

Democrat Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Republican Larry Hogan have secured strong advantages over their respective fields. (June 7, 2014)

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown remains the heavy favorite to win the Democratic gubernatorial primary because the only thing that could have hurt him — his role as O'Malley administration "point man" for Obamacare in Maryland — won't hurt him. And it won't hurt him for a simple reason: the math.

Not enough Democratic voters were "inconvenienced" (and, therefore, outraged) by last year's health exchange problems. Most Marylanders already had insurance; they didn't have to go anywhere near the state's glitch-riddled online marketplace.

And those that did appear to have survived the trauma.

In Maryland, an estimated 800,000 people did not have health insurance as the Affordable Care Act rolled out last fall. Half of those people were ineligible for ACA benefits because they were undocumented residents.

So that means the state needed to get those 400,000 people into the ranks of the insured.

It also needed to get Marylanders who were underinsured — that is, with policies that did not meet ACA standards — up to speed.

According to the state's latest report, 343,000 Marylanders ended up obtaining health insurance during the first sign-up period, between October and April.

That means 343,000 Marylanders who had either no insurance or lousy insurance now have decent insurance, either through private plans or from Medicaid.

And that's despite all the problems with the website.

So last fall's rollout of Obamacare in Maryland might have been a debacle. It might have been a national embarrassment. It might have "inconvenienced" — that's what Brown calls it — a few thousand people.

But nowhere near enough people to make a difference in the 2014 primary.

And the recovery from the debacle — the mitigation of a disaster — doesn't seem to look that bad today.

Maryland had to junk its website, and the final cost of the project will likely be a lot higher than the original price.

But that stuff doesn't stick to Brown. At least not among Democrats.

He appears to be headed to a victory on June 24, according to The Baltimore Sun's latest poll.

The poll shows Brown holding a sizable, perhaps insurmountable, lead over his primary opponents, Doug Gansler and Heather Mizeur.

When asked about Brown's role in the botched rollout of Obamacare in Maryland, 58 percent of those in the survey said it had no effect on their opinion of the guy.

That's a lot of forgiveness.

Or a lot of don't-matter.

Or a lot of "Huh?"

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