Prognosis not good for Massachusetts health insurance exchange

Kyle Cheney writes for Politico that the home of “Romneycare” is taking steps to ditch its troubled health insurance exchange.

RomneyCare’s pioneering health insurance exchange is headed for the scrap heap.

Bay State officials are taking steps this week to junk central parts of their dysfunctional health insurance exchange — the model for President Barack Obama’s health care law — and merge with the federal enrollment site HealthCare.gov.

The decision is part of an expensive plan that would occur alongside a parallel, last-ditch attempt to still build a working state system.

The state on Monday announced the hiring of hCentive, a Virginia-based contractor that helped construct the Kentucky and Colorado exchanges. The company would rush to build a viable state exchange in time for the next enrollment season, which begins Nov. 15.

But officials aren’t sure it’s possible to make that happen in less than six months. Given the narrow timeframe, they intend to simultaneously start shifting the Massachusetts exchange, known as the Connector, to HealthCare.gov.

A move by Massachusetts to the federal exchange would represent a symbolic blow for local Obamacare supporters. Massachusetts built the model of a state-run exchange in 2006, a result of the health care reform effort by then-Gov. Mitt Romney. The RomneyCare exchange, which helped the state provide health coverage to more than 97 percent of residents, became the template for the Obamacare version.

Massachusetts is the second state to begin that transition. Late last month, Oregon opted to scrap its $200 million system and join the federal exchange.

Remind me again why it made sense for North Carolina to create an Obamacare exchange?

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