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Monday, February 27, 2017

What happens in Maryland if the Affordable Health Care program is killed?

      While the Affordable Care Act has many flaws that have reduced its effectiveness in ensuring that everyone in Maryland has health care insurance the legislation has provided insurance for over 350,000 Marylanders, many of whom were uninsured before the ACA.  Who can forget the botched roll out in Maryland the first year.   Each year since fortunately has operated smoothly in expanding the health care safety net in Maryland.
      The Trump administration's agenda includes a repeal of the ACA and a replacement program that remains unclear.  Many officials in the Maryland Legislature are interested in setting up a Commission to study what repeal and reduction in the program's benefits would mean for Maryland residents.  The Senate Bill 571, with Sen. Guzzone and Sen. Kasemeyer as a co-sponsors, would establish a  Maryland Health Insurance Coverage Protection Commission that would :
     "(i) conduct a study to assess the impact of potential federal changes 13 to the ACA, Medicaid, and Medicare;  
    ( ii) provide recommendations for State and local action to protect 15 access of residents of the State to affordable health coverage.  The study conducted under paragraph (1) of this subsection shall include: an assessment of the current and potential adverse effects of the loss of health coverage on the residents, public health, and economy of the State resulting from a repeal or weakening of the ACA, Medicaid, or Medicare;  an estimate of the costs to the State and State residents of adverse effects from a repeal or weakening of the ACA, Medicaid, or Medicare and the resulting loss of health coverage; 
     (iii) an examination of measures that may prevent or mitigate the adverse effects of a repeal or weakening of the ACA, Medicaid, or Medicare and the resulting loss of health coverage on the residents, public health, and economy of the State; and 
     (iv) recommendations for laws that: 1. may be warranted to minimize the adverse effects 30 associated with a repeal or weakening of the ACA, Medicaid, or Medicare; and 2. will assist residents in obtaining and maintaining affordable health coverage. "

   The Commission could hold public hearings around the State before submitting their report to the Governor and the General Assembly by the end of this year.
    Time will tell what type of health insurance coverage will be available in the upcoming years.  The dynamic between a Republican Governor and a Democrat controlled General Assembly will show how progressive Maryland really is.

P.S.
     The local Indivisible group in Columbia is holding a town hall at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center on the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this Sunday at 5 pm.

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