Over the past 11 years, Consumer Health First has led the effort to expand access to quality care across the state. With our many partners, we work to advance health equity and ensure that consumer voices are heard in the legislature when laws are enacted and in the state agencies implementing those policies.
Today, however, we face unprecedented obstacles to our mission. There are those who do not share our vision of health justice and who lack the moral imperative to ensure that everyone shares in the promise of access to high quality, affordable and comprehensive health care. We will not let that stand.
Here are just some of the actions we have taken this year to address our transformed landscape with its multiple challenges. Consumer Health First has:
Launched our Health Care. Keep It! campaign to fight the "repeal and replace" effort led by members of Congress and the new Administration, traveling to town halls and community meetings across the state to make sure consumers understand the impact that repeal would have on their health care.
Worked hand in hand with our Congressional Delegation to share information, respond to policy proposals and bring important issues to the attention of the public.
Ensured that there was language in the State Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act that requires the Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene and Human Resources to "establish a group of interested stakeholders to collaborate on any changes or program redesign for" ... Medicaid or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Advocated for legislation in the 2017 General Assembly session to protect Marylanders from the impact of potential ACA repeal.
Established a Medicaid Collaborative of 18 organizations to work together to preserve this essential safety-net program that provides comprehensive health care to more than 1 in 5 Marylanders.
Took the lead in analyzing the rates proposed for 2018 insurance plans and, in particular, those of CareFirst.
Provided comprehensive comments to the Maryland Insurance Administration on regulations designed to ensure that consumers have adequate provider networks so that they can truly access the care they are purchasing with their premium dollars.
Brought the consumer voice to multiple committees and workgroups, including the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Standing Advisory Committee; and the Consumer - Standing Advisory Committee established by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Health Services Cost Review Commission to address Maryland's health care transformation initiatives.
And, much more!
None of this work would be possible without our members and national partners and the support of our key funders -- Open Society Institute-Baltimore, Raising Women's Voices, and the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation. We are also immensely grateful to our corporate donors, such as Kaiser Permanente, and our many individual donors.
Now we need you to help us meet the challenges ahead --- some we know, such as the attacks on the Medicaid program, and others are yet to be revealed. If you share our mission to ensure that ALL Marylanders have access to quality care, please, take the time right now to make a donation - we will be grateful and so, too, will all those who are impacted by the work that we do.
President, Consumer Health First