You’d think it would be difficult to find two states more different than Massachusetts and Hawaii. Despite being one of the oldest and one of the newest states, and being 5,000 miles apart, they do share some similarities. For example, both got snow this year. OK, Boston’s accumulation was about nine feet and fell at sea level, while Hawaii got a few inches at elevations in excess of 11,000 feet, but it was snow nonetheless.
Here’s another way they are similar: They both named their state-run exchanges “Connector.” One more similarity: Both connectors have become disconnected.
See also: It’s gettin’ real!
Massachusetts’ Connector is so messed up that the government recently received a subpoena from the U.S. attorney and is facing allegations of outright fraud. Massachusetts passed health care reform (aka “Romney Care”) in 2006. After PPACA passed, many suggested that there was much to be learned from the state’s efforts. The original Massachusetts Connector achieved the stated goal of reducing the number of uninsured in the state. It also begat the expected financial problems, increased waiting times for physician visits and the like. All were learning opportunities.
Of course, Washington’s unofficial motto is, “If it ain’t broke, fix it ‘til it is,” so they created enough regulatory nonsense to cause the Massachusetts Connector to have to be remade to meet the terms of PPACA. Then the wheels came off. The original 2013 rewrite was so messed up that it had to be re-rebuilt. In the interim, with no other options, the state moved enrollees into Medicaid until they could get their new site open and sort everything out.
In any other enterprise, heads would have rolled, but in government, where bureaucrats attempt to commit commerce, things went from bad to worse. A recent report by the Pioneer Institute found gross mismanagement of the website during the term of former governor Deval Patrick. Josh Archambault, author of the study, calls it a “level of complete incompetence and mismanagement.”