Maryland health exchange users hit snags, but O’Malley reasserts ‘major fixes’ are done

Maryland’s online health-insurance exchange got mixed marks from some users Monday who said the Web site continued to have serious difficulties despite Gov. Martin O’Malley’s announcement this weekend that the major problems hindering enrollment had been fixed. O’Malley (D) largely stood by his rosy assessment, telling reporters that the state had reached “an important milestone” by making nine “major fixes” that targeted the most common crashes and other problems that have limited the number of Marylanders signing up for insurance plans under the federal health-care law. (Wash. Post)

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In Pr. George’s, Baker to sign minimum wage bill, raising hourly rate to $11.50 by 2017

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) will sign the county’s minimum wage bill at a ceremony Tuesday morning. The measure, approved by the Prince George’s County Council Nov. 27, will lift the hourly rate to $11.50 by 2017 from the current $7.25. Baker aides said last month they weren’t sure if Baker would sign the bill. Although he supports a minimum wage increase, they said Baker is concerned about the impact such a large increase could have on the county’s competitiveness and he favored leaving the matter to the Maryland General Assembly for statewide action. (Wash. Post)

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16% raise recommended for Maryland legislators who would make $50,000 in 2018

Maryland legislators elected next year would see their salaries rise to $50,330 in 2018, a 16% raise over the next four years recommended Monday by the General Assembly Compensation Commission. If the legislature accepts the recommendation, it would give the part-time lawmakers their first raise in eight years. Delegates and senators currently make $43,500. (Md. Reporter)

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State Senator Mathias seeks another term

Lower Shore Sen. Jim Mathias hopes his work during the past three years — securing money for school construction, promoting a free market for Worcester County restaurant owners and working to improve roads — will help earn him re-election in 2014. Having filed with the state board of elections last week, the first-term Democratic state senator said he plans to continue talking with and advocating for residents in his district. “This is about the citizens and continuing to earn their trust and their support and their confidence,” Mathias said. (Daily Times)

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O’Malley ‘little more than a footnote’ in Iowa

Two years away from the first Iowa Caucuses, most voters in that state have no idea who Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is, according to a poll conducted by the Des Moines Register. Of those surveyed by the paper, 69 percent said they had no idea who O’Malley was. That same poll found that about 18 percent said the governor had a very favorable or mostly favorable name recognition and about 13 percent of those surveyed said he had a mostly unfavorable or very unfavorable name recognition. (Daily Record)

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Dec. 16 // O’Malley says major health exchange problems are fixed

The state has resolved the nine "major issues" preventing its glitch-ridden health exchange from working, officials said Saturday, a milestone Gov. Martin O'Malley has framed as key to boosting the low enrollment in insurance plans offered under the Affordable Care Act. While officials cautioned that more repairs are necessary beyond those nine problems, O'Malley said through a spokeswoman that the site "is now functional for most citizens." Praised as a national model during its development, the $107 million online marketplace has been troubled by screen freezes and crashes in the two months since its launch. (Balt. Sun)

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As Md. lawmakers shop for insurance, a divide

No fan of the Affordable Care Act, Republican Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland is taking a pass on health insurance offered on the online marketplaces set up under the law, saying the premiums are too expensive. Meanwhile, Democratic Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin of Maryland have purchased insurance through DC Health Link, the online marketplace set up by the District of Columbia. The 2010 Affordable Care Act bars members of Congress from remaining insured by the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program, which covers federal employees. As a result, the lawmakers had to find private coverage on an online exchange or find alternate insurance. (Daily Times)

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Md. Democratic hopeful Heather Mizeur gets boost from women’s group EMILY’s List

Maryland Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Heather R. Mizeur got a boost Friday from EMILY’s List, which announced it would use its national network to steer financial contributions to the campaign of the Montgomery County delegate. The organization is well-known for its support of Democratic women running for office around the country, who believe in abortion rights, and claims 3 million members. (Wash. Post)

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