The Checkup
10:26 am
Tue September 24, 2013

What A Delay Or Defunding Of Obamacare Would (Or Wouldn't) Mean For Maryland

Credit: slonecker / stock.xchng
Credit Credit: slonecker / stock.xchng

The health-insurance exchanges are scheduled to open a week from today, and opponents are still trying to delay or defund Obamacare. In “The Checkup” we ask Politico health care reporter Paige Winfield Cunningham how it will play out here.

Maryland’s political power structure is ”all in” when it comes to the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Twenty-two other states refused to expand Medicaid to poor adults without children; Maryland leaped at the chance. Twenty-seven other states decided against setting up their own on-line marketplaces for health insurance; Maryland plunged ahead.

But, on Capitol Hill in Washington, a debate is raging this week over whether Obamacare should be stopped or delayed. The only elected Marylander who voted last week for the resolution to keep government open only if Obamacare is defunded is the only Republican in the Free State’s delegation, Andy Harris. He tweeted: “I just voted to defund the Obamacare train wreck while keeping the government open. I hope my colleagues in the Senate do the same.”

Harris is also a medical doctor, an anesthesiologist for nearly three decades. We wanted to ask why he sees Obamacare as a train wreck, but he declined to talk to us.

If the House and Senate don’t break their budget impasse, the federal government could shut down a week from today on October 1. That’s also the opening day of the centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act, the online marketplaces or exchanges where people are supposed to be able to comparison-shop for insurance and find out if they’re eligible for subsidies or for Medicaid. Could that be a train wreck?

To find out, we got in touch with Paige Winfield Cunningham, who covers health care for Politico. She joins Sheilah by phone from the press gallery in the U.S. Capitol.

Next week on "The Checkup", we’ll be talking about premium increases. Have your health insurance premiums gone up? Tell us about it. Leave us a voicemail at (410) 881-3162. Leave your name and a number where we can reach you. You can also reach us by e-mail at thecheckup@wypr.org.

Produced by Matt Purdy.

Our series ‘The Checkup: How Health Care Is Changing In Maryland’ is made possible by grants from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, the Baltimore Association of Health Underwriters, and HealthCare Access Maryland.