It’s rare that you hear much from a lieutenant governor candidate and rarer still that the person talks about policy.
But in keeping with the theme that Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio would be ready to assume the governorship on a moment’s notice, she was entrusted with making a statement on Maryland’s health exchanges.
Under the O’Malley-Brown Administration, implementing the new health care law is more about politics, marketing and spin than improving people’s lives. The Administration wants everyone to believe that somehow Obamacare is free, as if grants magically appear that nobody has to pay for. They even said no state funds would be used to launch the exchange, which we later learned was not true.
If the new health care exchange is so great, then it should not take $24 million in marketing and technical assistance for people to use it. And make no mistake, this so-called ‘outreach’ is targeted towards their political base. It’s also strange that the O’Malley – Brown Administration takes credit for creating 300 marketing temp jobs funded by our own tax dollars. Government-run health care is bringing us an 83% healthcare tax. That won’t be in the glossy brochures, because it’s a fact.
Worth noting is the state’s $24 million tab, which supposedly created 300 new jobs for the “navigators.” $80,000 per job is actually pretty cheap for the state, but don’t worry – I’m sure it will bust its budget before the fiscal year is out. (Locally, we will be “served” by the Worcester County Health Department. We only rated 17 jobs in “outreach, education, eligibility determination and enrollment services particularly to hard-to-reach populations.”)
Of course, the question is what happens next year, and the next, as the program becomes even more entrenched. Do the workers get to unionize? Will they actually receive benefits? (Many of these jobs are wage-only.) There are a lot of unanswered questions.
But the more important point to this article is the fact that the statement was put out by the lieutenant governor candidate. I don’t recall Bob Ehrlich giving Mary Kane or Kristen Cox much to say on the campaign trail; granted, he was already in office when Cox was selected and a fairly known quantity when he picked Kane.
It reminds me somewhat of the saying about Bill Clinton’s 1992 run with “the smartest woman in the world.” Forget Al Gore, the real brains behind the operation would be Hillary, said the pundits. Of course, Craig and Haddaway-Riccio are married, but not to each other. They’ll only be joined at the hip for the next 10 to 15 months on the campaign trail. (It would be interesting to see how Haddaway-Riccio and Ken Ulman would fare in a debate.)
So the selection by the other GOP candidates becomes more important, because David Craig has upped the ante a little bit with this statement. That’s not to say there aren’t other great people for the job out there, but the others should choose wisely.