Council reviews staff recommendations and prepares for public hearings
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (November 16, 2010) – Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown presided today over the seventh meeting of the Health Care Reform Coordinating Council in Annapolis. The Council, co-chaired by Lt. Governor Brown and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary John M. Colmers, met to review the Council staff’s proposals for recommendations that are due to the Governor for the Council’s January 1 report.
“As Maryland prepares to implement federal health reform, the State and Reform Council is working diligently to begin expanding health care to more people, improving the quality of care, and enhancing the healthcare workforce,” said Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown. “The Council looks forward to engaging Marylanders in the decision making process of implementing health reform and together, we will ensure that we save every possible penny and expand health coverage to more residents than ever before.”
Following a series of meetings held by the Council’s six workgroups, staff members to the Council have prepared an initial draft of recommendations on how to implement federal health care reform and improve health care in Maryland. In late November and early December, the Council will hold four public meetings throughout Maryland, engaging residents and accepting comments on the recommendations. The community meetings will be held in Hyattsville, Frederick, Baltimore and Wye Mills at Chesapeake College.
A final report is due to the Governor and Legislature by January 1, 2011 and will address several major issues, including how to enroll people and businesses who will be newly eligible for health insurance, maintain a healthcare safety net, expand and improve the healthcare workforce, develop cost-efficient payment systems and methods to address health disparities and distribute health care information to the public.
The Council submitted an interim report to Governor O’Malley in July, which included independent research that estimated Maryland will save $829 million over ten years and reduce the number of uninsured by half because of federal health reform. The report provided a comprehensive evaluation of the federal legislation and identified critical decision points to be considered by the State. It also included potential grants and funding opportunities, a timeline of legislative and regulatory changes necessary for implementation, and a summary of public comments received by the Council.
The Health Care Reform Coordinating Council was created by Governor Martin O’Malley through Executive Order in March 2010 to advise the administration on policies and procedures to implement the recent federal health care reform legislation as efficiently and effectively as possible. As states assume the critical role of implementing multiple aspects of health care reform, the Council will make policy recommendations and offer implementation strategies to keep Maryland among the leading states in expanding quality, affordable health care while reducing waste and controlling costs.
Lt. Governor Brown leads the O’Malley-Brown administration’s efforts on a range of issues, including health care. Brown led this year’s effort to pass the Medicaid False Claims Act and establish Patient Centered Medical Homes. He chairs the Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council and has championed efforts to expand access to mental and behavioral health services for Maryland’s veterans.