Wins, Losses and Opportunities: Consumer Perspectives from the 2019 General Assembly

This webinar took place on May 6, 2019 from Noon - 1:30 PM and provided an overview of the 2019 Session and the budget and legislative outcomes from the consumer perspective. The speakers focused on two principal areas: 

  •  "Wins and losses" in areas that include: the individual insurance market; behavioral health; women's health; consumer protections; consumer engagement and health literacy.

  •  "Opportunities" - what's ahead, based on the requirements of the new laws, and such major initiatives as affordability and access to health care and Maryland's delivery system transformation. 

We discussed the continued attacks from the current federal administration on the ACA and how Maryland is poised to defend it. 

For a complete set of slides from the presentation - click here.

Presenters included:

Beth Sammis, Ph.D. serves as the President of Consumer Health First and is passionate about making insurance more responsive to consumers. She gained an in-depth understanding of the business operations of health insurers through senior executive positions with two large regional health insurers. Through senior positions in government, both at the state and federal level, Beth negotiated regulatory matters and policy issues with insurers, producers, providers, and consumers. As Acting Insurance Commissioner, she represented Maryland at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Beth worked to advance health care reform in Maryland implementing policies to give all small employers access to comprehensive health insurance benefits and consumers information about health maintenance organizations and implemented the initial insurance reforms of the Affordable Care Act while at the Maryland Insurance Administration.

Ellen Weber, JD is the Vice President for Health Initiatives at the Legal Action Center, and a Board Member of Consumer Health First. The Legal Action Center is a law and policy organization whose mission is to fight discrimination against individuals with histories of addiction, HIV/AIDS, or criminal records, and to advocate for sound public policies in these areas.  Ms. Weber leads the Center’s efforts to expand access to comprehensive and equitable substance use treatment at both the state and federal levels. 

Ms. Weber held an appointment on the faculty of the University of Maryland Carey School of Law from 2002 through mid-2017, where she established and directed the Drug Policy and Public Health Strategies Clinic. She worked with students on disability rights litigation and legislative advocacy, health care reform and Parity Act implementation in Maryland and harm reduction legislation to address the opioid epidemic.

Leni Preston is the Co-Chair of Consumer Health First’s Policy and Government Affairs Committee which is responsible for setting CHF's legislative and policy agenda to advance its health equity mission. Leni was a founding member of CHF and, in 2015 she received the Families USA Consumer Health Advocate of the Year Award in recognition of her "outstanding contribution on behalf of our nation's health care consumers."