As we are every year, Consumer Health First was very active in the General Assembly Session which will close on Monday, April, 10. A major focus of this year's legislative activity was to prepare the state for anticipated changes at the federal level that could adversely impact Marylanders’ access to health coverage and care.
“The Affordable Care Act remains under serious threat at the federal level,” said CHF Executive Director Jeananne Sciabarra. “Taking meaningful steps in Annapolis to preserve key aspects of the ACA was a critical priority for Consumer Health First. We applaud the legislature for acknowledging the value of the ACA to their constituents and taking steps to limit the harm that could be done to them through repeal efforts.”
Read our April 6 press release for more information about the bills we supported to protect the ACA in Maryland. For complete details of all the bills we supported this Session, go to our Legislative Page.
Consumer Health First is also making sure consumers have a seat at the table if and when Congress announces cuts in funding to Medicaid as was initially proposed in the American Health Care Act. The bill, which failed to get enough support for a vote in the House at the end of last month, underwent some last minute efforts and late night sessions involving Vice President Pence this week to try and revive the bill for a vote prior to Spring Recess, but those have apparently died for now.
Meanwhile, a provision added to the state budget at our request, requires state officials to partner with a range of stakeholders on any proposed changes to Medicaid. The budget requirement means consumer advocates, healthcare providers and other experts will have a role in changing Maryland’s Medicaid program in response to policy or budget changes passed by Congress. Read more about this in our April 3rd press release.