This was the second General Assembly session of Governor Hogan's administration, and it was a busy one! 2,871 bills were filed (up by 25% over 2015), and 834 bills passed. As always, our focus was on securing consumer-centered health care reform related legislation. The following are a list of our victories.We also thought it would be helpful to show some of the other bills we worked on, but which failed to get through the Legislature. In some cases bills were withdrawn - generally because the fiscal note and, therefore, the impact on the budget was considered too high - or because consensus could not be reached on amendments before the end of the General Assembly session.
SB929/HB1318 - Health Benefit Plans - Network Access Standards and Provider Network Directories - This legislation was an outgrowth of two reports done in 2015 by the Coalition and Mental Health Association of Maryland. These demonstrated the challenges consumers face in identifying a provider and then getting the services they need. Joining together the two organizations put forward a bill that was sponsored by Senator Klausmeier and Delegate Kelly. We very much appreciate their leadership. (Find a fact sheet on the bill here.
The final legislation, passed by both the Senate and House with unanimous votes, represented a coming together of advocates, insurance carriers and others. The result is a consensus bill that includes a number of key provisions. These include a process to identify specific standards that carriers must address in designing their network of providers to ensure consumers' access to needed services. It also puts in place provisions that will support greater accuracy in the information contained in the provider directories.
For a complete list of the bills we tracked and supported during the 2016 General Assembly session, and their outcomes, please visit our Legislative Victories page.