HEALTH

Maryland Health Connection: Signing up delayed by glitches

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SILVER SPRING, Md. (WJLA) - Christina Okocha is typical of many uninsured Americans. The certified nursing assistant works hard as a home health aid, but she also lives in fear.

“I'm concerned and worried, because you don't really know what is going to happen the next minute," she says.

So the Greenbelt resident says she was excited for the opportunity to get affordable coverage when the Maryland Health Connection website launched -- until she tried to sign up.

“You couldn't do anything," she explains.

Her experience is common. When we visited the website on Thursday, we were directed to a page which warned of delays – just like the glitchy healthcare.gov, Maryland’s website is full of bugs.

Elected officials have been boasting for two years about Maryland’s leadership in creating an exchange. They spent $170 million to create it, yet only about 3,000 people at last count have been able to sign up.

"The first reports of a problem didn't make it to my desk until September," said Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown. 

After taking credit for leading the creation of Health Care Connection, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown is now taking some of the blame for its failure, touring a plant today to talk about improving Maryland’s business climate as he runs for governor.

The only questions he got from reporters were about his role in the healthcare mess. After declining to address the subject for several days, he now says he’s involved in repairs.

"My focus is on fixing and getting it right," he said.

But Christina Okocha says none of it makes sense to her, and insists that signing up should be easy:

"So I don't really know what is happening, but the website, it's a shame. It's a shame."

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