The Director of Maryland’s troubled health exchange resigned Friday after two months of embarrassing failures and controversies.
Rebecca Pearce has been under fire in the politically influential state of Maryland ever since the October 1 launch of the glitchy and ineffective website that cost $107 million. Maryland’s close proximity to the District of Columbia and its dominant liberal leadership make it a primary testing ground for Washington’s progressive state mandates like the Obamacare exchanges.
The failure of the state’s website and health exchanges has served as a political stalking horse for the nearly identical travails of Healthcare.gov and the federal exchanges. Likewise, political attacks on Pearce’s handling of Maryland’s version of Obamacare can be compared to the fire directed at her federal counterpart, Kathleen Sebelius.
Further complicating Pearce’s ability to weather the political storm in Maryland was the embarrassing news that she took a Caribbean vacation over Thanksgiving week while the state ramped up a staff and technical surge to fix major structural problems in the state program and website.
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who is running for Governor in 2014, was assigned the job of overseeing the state exchanges and the initial failure of the program is seen as a major liability in his bid to be the state’s first African-American governor.
Also damaged by the failures of Maryland’s Obamacare program is Gov. Martin O’Malley who has made it clear he intends to run for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016.
The Baltimore Sun reports that Pearce, whose salary in 2011 was $175,000, will be replaced in the interim by Carolyn Quattrocki, a top advisor to O’Malley.