ANNAPOLIS, Md. (March 25, 2011) – Today, Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown, co-chair of Maryland’s Health Care Reform Coordinating Council, released the following statement applauding advancement of the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s Health Care Reform Package by the General Assembly:
“As we mark the one-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act this week, it is exciting to see the General Assembly move forward on our health care reform package, which will help reduce costs, expand access, and improve the quality of care for all Marylanders. We have developed a national model for implementing reform and have worked closely with all stakeholders to create a framework for Maryland’s health benefit exchange that will work seamlessly with existing programs to provide a simple, one-stop location for Marylanders to choose affordable, high-quality health coverage. I applaud House and Senate committee members for their work on these measures, and I will continue working with the General Assembly to enact this important health care legislation.”
According to research by the independent Hilltop Institute, implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will save Maryland an estimated $850 million and cut the number of Marylanders living without health insurance in half by 2020. The Health Care Reform Package, championed by Lt. Governor Brown, would establish a framework for Maryland’s health benefit exchange that will provide individuals and small businesses one-stop shopping for affordable insurance options; help an estimated 180,000 low-income Marylanders access federal subsidies for coverage; support small business access to affordable coverage; and allow private insurers to offer competitive plans in a fair and transparent marketplace where consumers will be able to compare rates, benefits, and quality to find plans that best suit their needs.
The package also includes measures to improve the quality of insurance by aligning Maryland law with the consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act, which have already gone into effect. These include: barring insurers from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, eliminating lifetime limits on essential benefits, requiring insurance companies to cover certain preventive services like mammograms and flu shots, and allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26. The package passed the House Health and Government Operations Committee on Thursday and is being considered on the floor by the House of Delegates today. The Senate Finance Committee passed the package on Wednesday and the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee will consider the health benefit exchange late Friday.