We'll cut Rep. Andy Harris some slack for his continued insistence that Maryland's health insurance exchange is a train wreck. After so mercilessly (and justifiably) pounding the O'Malley administration for the exchange's performance, it's got to be a reflex by now to view whatever news comes from it as proof of incompetence. But the fact of the matter is that the Maryland Health Connection's decision to extend the open enrollment period for two weeks for those who tried and failed to enroll before the deadline Sunday is not proof that "Maryland still has not created a fully functional and efficient exchange," as the Congressman contends.

Sunday was supposed to be the last day for Marylanders to enroll either in private insurance plans or Medicaid lest they be fined by the federal government for not having health insurance, as required by the Affordable Care Act. Given human nature and past experience, it was no surprise that a much larger than usual number of people tried to enroll that day. Some did not complete the process on time, but this year, it wasn't the website that was the problem; despite experiencing triple the normal traffic, the site operated with only minor interruptions. The issue was that many of those enrolling wanted help from a human being in deciding what policy best met their needs. That's a good thing. Buying health insurance is much more complicated than buying a book from Amazon, and some advice is often necessary.

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The result, though, was that call volumes to the exchange ballooned, and wait times for service increased. While this was, not doubt, frustrating to those who found themselves stuck on hold, it does not necessarily indicate mismanagement. If the exchange hired and trained enough staff to handle triple its normal workload, Mr. Harris would really have a waste of taxpayer dollars to complain about. The solution the exchange arrived at, allowing an extension for those who were in the process of applying for coverage on Sunday, is basically like the post office assuring all those in line at midnight on April 15 that their income tax returns would be postmarked as being mailed on time.

What's telling about the turnaround the Maryland Health Connection has experienced is not Mr. Harris' effort to find a lead lining to its silver cloud. Rather, it's the silence you're hearing from Gov. Larry Hogan's administration. During last year's election, Mr. Hogan was dogged — again, justifiably so — in his criticism of the O'Malley administration, particularly Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, for the costly failure of the insurance exchange website. But since he was elected, he's hardly said a word about it.

The reason is that Mr. Hogan turns out to have been wrong about one thing. Last spring, the insurance exchange board voted to dump the software it has spent scores of millions of dollars to develop and instead to modify software that had been successfully deployed in Connecticut — at a cost of another $41 million. Mr. Hogan said that was a mistake and that Maryland should have adopted the federal government's insurance exchange website instead, the implication being that doing so wouldn't cost anything.

But that wasn't really true. Modifying the federal software for the specifics of Maryland's insurance market was estimated to cost $10 million, but that would have left the state with a decades-old, obsolete Medicaid enrollment system. Upgrading that to meet Affordable Care Act requirements was estimated to cost another $46 million. Health insurance exchange officials thought that they could accomplish that on time and for less money by using the Connecticut system. They were right.

And to his credit, the governor appears to recognize that. A spokesman for Mr. Hogan said the administration would continue to monitor the exchange closely and would soon be making its own appointments to the exchange board, but the governor has no plans to push for immediate changes. We have criticized Mr. Hogan before for carrying campaign rhetoric over into governance, but this time he's not. Maryland's insurance exchange isn't broken, and Mr. Hogan is wise not to try to fix it.

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