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.
What is so astounding about this is that the Baltimore Sun is usually a reliable water-carrier for Democrats in Maryland: if you read the whole editorial, you immediately get struck by the fact that apparently in its world healthcare.gov is doing a whole lot better than it is in ours. If the paper is seriously discussing shutting down the Maryland state exchange anyway, then things are bad for the O’Malley administration.
Needless to say, this is also going to have an effect on the governor’s election next year: the Lt. Governor’s gubernatorial bid will probably get scuppered for certain if he has to preside over giving Obamacare back to the federal government. As I noted earlier this month… between this, underage twerking, and quixotic pot crusades, the Democratic primary is going to be insane.