We can't thank you enough for your generosity on Giving Tuesday and throughout the year. 

One reason your support is so important is that it means that we can continue   to bring the consumer perspective to Maryland's legislative, policy and regulatory agenda.  For example, just last week:
  • Consumer Health First Vice-President, Leni Preston, spoke at the meeting of the Maryland Health Insurance Coverage Protection Commission. She cited CHF's position in support of an individual mandate and urged the Commission to explore options for long-term funding for the reinsurance program. Find video of the meeting and resource materials here. 
  • She and Beth Sammis, CHF President, met with staff at the Maryland Insurance Administration to discuss the new HHS grant-funded project. Insurance Commissioner, Al Redmer Jr., stated that the purpose is "... to  do the analytical research work necessary to explore all of our options related to consumer protection and market reforms." Learn more about the project here
Consumer Health First will be tracking the progress on these and multiple issues. We couldn't do this without your support. So, if you missed Giving Tuesday, please donate today. 

Public Charge Rule - Dire Warnings

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has put out a disturbing new Public Charge Rule, which would drastically curtail the number of legal immigrants who currently receive public benefits, as explained by  NASHP. The Kaiser Family Foundation in an  issue brief, has estimated the impacts on immigrants and Medicaid that show that between 2.1 and 4.9 million individuals currently enrolled in Medicaid/CHIP would dis-enroll and lose health coverage due to the proposed rule. 

The Commonwealth Fund also reports that t he proposed public-charge rule for legal immigrants would jeopardize an estimated $68 billion in Medicaid/CHIP funding, and would reduce Medicaid revenue for health care providers and drive up uncompensated care costs nationwide.

Locally, the City of Baltimore filed suit against the Trump Administration on Wednesday, challenging President Trump's efforts to curtail legal immigration by penalizing people who use public benefits.

Consumer Health First and other advocacy groups will be submitting comments to DHS's Public Charge Rule, which are due December 10. Those wishing to send in comments can do so  here .
In Other News...

Your support also means that we can continue to bring you the most current research and policy papers as well as the latest news from Annapolis, Washington, and beyond.
  • US Life Expectancy Declines - In a trend not seen since World War I, when war and a flu pandemic were to blame, the effects of suicide and drug related deaths are now contributing to a decline in life expectancy. "I think this is a very dismal picture of health in the United States," said Joshua M. Sharfstein, vice dean for public health practice and community engagement at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Life expectancy is improving in many places in the world. It shouldn't be declining in the United States."
  •  Maryland's ACA litigation is moving forward. Maryland has asked a court to declare that the ACA is constitutional, OR to declare that ending the individual mandate is unconstitutional. As noted in the most recent dispatch from Health Affairs Blog, this is all dependent on the Texas v United States case, which could be ruled on any day now.
    • 62% of Americans say it is "very important" to protect pre-existing conditions even if it means increased costs for others.
    • Only 6% of Americans think the new Congress will be able to work on bipartisan legislation to address the health care issues facing the country.
    • One fourth of those who purchase their own insurance, or who are uninsured, know about the 12/15 Open Enrollment deadline.
  • Just before Thanksgiving, CMS reapproved work requirement in Kentucky. Given that the new waiver looks like the one that was rejected by a Federal judge in June, there is sure to be a court challenge. Even as more states expand Medicaid there continues to be a move to request similar waivers. As described in the Virginia Mercury, the Commonwealth began its expanded enrollment even as it submitted its work requirement waiver to CMS. 
Mark Your Calendar
  • Tuesday, December 4 - Sunday, December 9:  Maryland Health Connection will hold "Last Chance" events throughout the state to provide free help with health coverage enrollment through the state's health insurance marketplace. For times, dates and locations, click here. 
  • Tuesday, December 4: Population Health Summit: Innovation Under the Maryland Model. 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM. Hilton BWI, Linthicum, MD. Join U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, Secretary Robert Neall and other speakers from across Maryland for a day long conversation about Maryland's new population health initiatives. You can attend in-person, or via live-stream (without breakout sessions). REGISTER HERE for both - space is limited.
  • Thursday, December 6: The Maryland Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities will be holding their 15th Annual Health Equity Conference: "Achieving Health Equity and Disparity Reduction: Prevention and Cost Savings." 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM, Martin's West, 6817 Dogwood Road, Baltimore.
  • Friday, December 15th: Open Enrollment ends! Last day to sign up for health care coverage beginning January 1, 2019.

We Need You!
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