Md. General Assembly Approves Two Health Bills Before Adjourning

They’re awaiting action by the Governor.


Annapolis, Md (KM). Two major health bills made it out of the 2019  General Assembly which adjourned on Monday of last week.

One would set up a Maryland easy enrollment health insurance program. The President of the Maryland Citizens Health Initiative, Vinny DeMarco, says this will enable anyone who doesn’t health insurance to enroll by checking a box on their state tax returns. Then the State Health Insurance Exchange would work with them to find the best coverage, and get them signed up.. “And we predict that will bring over 100,000 presently uninsured Marylanders into the health care rolls, which is great them and their families, and really great for all to help keep our premiums down. And we strongly encourage and expect Governor Hogan to sign that,” he says.

Since passage of the federal Affordable Care Act, Maryland has set up a Health Insurance Exchange to help the uninsured population find the best health coverage for they and their families.  “The Maryland Health Exchange has really done a great job getting people enrolled. This is going to help do their job even better,” DeMarco says.

Another bill would set up a prescription drug affordability board which would establish a price that state and local governments  will pay for certain high cost medications. This bill has been considered by the General Assembly in the past, but it finally passed during the 2019 session. “For the first time, there will be an entity in America that will make sure Marylanders can afford their drugs. And it will start with making sure that state and local governments can afford their high cost drugs. And we hopefully will expand it to all purchasers of drugs,” says DeMarco.

Critics have said that a prescription drug affordability board will make it difficult for patients to their life-saving drugs. DeMarco disputes that. “Other countries have boards like this that make drug affordable, and they sell the drugs there because they will still make enough money to do their research and everything they need,” he says.

That bill  is also awaiting action by the Governor.


By Kevin McManus