WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown has claimed for years that he was among those leading the implementation of the state’s health exchanges under the Affordable Care Act.
But at a campaign event in Chevy Chase on Saturday, Brown — who is vying for the Democratic nomination for governor — also admitted he was in the dark when it came to the problems the exchanges would go on to have once they were unveiled Oct. 1.
“No red flags were brought to my attention… about the inability of the exchange to launch on October 1st,” Brown told WNEW on Saturday. “In late September, perhaps, there were concerns about volume and sort of rare and unique cases.”
Brown used the example of a Native American family with five children trying to apply through the exchange.
On Saturday afternoon, The Baltimore Sun reported that in the month leading up to and then following the exchange, Brown never sent an email to anyone working to get the exchanges up and running. The Sun’s article also says more than two weeks after the launch date, Joshua Sharfstein, the state’s Health Secretary and one of Brown’s co-chairs on the panel, had to ask some of Brown’s staffers to forward emails to the lieutenant governor because Shafstein didn’t have a direct address himself.
On Friday, Rebecca Pearce resigned her post as executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. Asked about her resignation, Brown admitted things haven’t gone well with the exchange.
“We have reorganized leadership,” he said. “I think when we reorganized the leadership, and diminished Rebecca’s responsibilities, she wasn’t pleased with that so she chose to resign and I certainly wish her the best.”
Brown says he’s been getting daily updates about enrollment in the state’s healthcare exchanges.
“This week, the last four days, have been the best rates of enrollment that we’ve seen on the exchange…. [Friday] we had our best enrollment numbers,” Brown said. “We’re making progress.”