Md, Health Care For All Coalition Outlines Legislative Priorities

They are five bills to help increase access to health care coverage.

Baltimore, Md (KM) There are five top priorities from the Maryland Health Care for All Coalition for this year’s General Assembly. “We want to achieve our goal of quality, affordable health care for all Marylanders,”: says Coalition President Vinnie DeMarco. “And go from six percent uninsured to zero percent.”

One priority is full funding for the Prescription Drug Affordability Board. Another one is a bill providing  subsidies for lower income young people between the ages of 18 and 34 to purchase health care insurance. The program began in 2021 as a pilot.. . “And that was a two year program that had gotten 10,000 people enrolled and we want to make that permanent,” says DeMarco.

One of the co-sponsors of this legislation is Frederick County Delegate Ken Kerr.

There’s also a measure to provide $5-million annually for five years to the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange to do outreach to small businesses. . DeMarco says the Exchange will help small businesses  “to get their employees enrolled though the Affordable Care Act.”

DeMarco says the Coalition also supports a bill to expand health care coverage regardless of immigration status, and that includes undocumented immigrants. “All immigrants, anybody in Maryland,  should have access to quality affordable health care, or they suffer and we all suffer,” he said.

The Coalition is also supporting legislation to enroll SNAP, or Food Stamp recipients, in Medicaid.

DeMarco acknowledges  there are a lot of state programs to help Marylanders sign up for health care coverage. “However, it’s still not right that there are hundreds of thousands of people without health care coverage. Many of them are eligible and unenrolled. We want to get them enrolled,” he said.

Making sure everyone has coverage will help bring down the cost of health care for all Marylanders. “And people should remember that when an uninsured person goes to the hospital and racks up a huge bill they can’t pay, we all pay with higher premiums,” DeMarco said. “It’s a hidden health care cost.”

The 2023 Maryland General Assembly will  gavel into session on Wednesday, January 11th.

By Kevin McManus