DC May Be Shutdown, But Annapolis Is In Full Swing
 
Things are gearing up in Annapolis. Governor Larry Hogan was sworn in for his second term in office on Wednesday, and legislation is being filed daily.

For those who are unfamiliar with  the General Assembly website  you can find  video tutorials  to access the wealth of information to be found there. Legislation is, of course, a top priority and you can use several search tools as well as the a list of the bills  by subject  here .  

You can follow the bills Consumer Health First is supporting and monitoring this session. We update our bill tracking list every Tuesday.

The committee  hearing schedules are  also available online.  Currently, many committees are having briefings on state programs. You can watch these live (found on right hand side of home screen) or find them later in the archives.   

Upcoming committee briefings in January include:
  • Tuesday 22:  Health, Government and Operations - All Payer Model and the Primary Care Program
  • Thursday 24:  Health, Government and Operations - Medicaid 101 and Long Term Care 101
  • Tuesday 29:  Senate - Total Cost of Care Model 

Important Dates to remember this Session:

    • Feb. 4 = deadline for introducing Senate Bills
    • Feb. 8 = deadline for introducing House Bills
    • March 18 = Bill Crossover Day
Weekly News Roundup
  • Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy has introduced legislation designed to bar federal Medicaid funding for the "administrative costs of providing health benefits to individuals who are undocumented immigrants." This is in direct response to California Governor Newsome's announcement to use state money to expand Medicaid to young, undocumented residents.
  • Speaking of insurance for undocumented residents, the Kaiser Family Foundation has published a fact sheet on immigrant health coverage, and unsurprisingly found that non-citizens are far more likely to lack health insurance than citizens.
  • Kaiser Health News editor, Elisabeth Rosenthal pens an op-ed for the New York Times, that focuses on states' efforts to fix healthcare in light of increasing federal government dysfunction.
  • The Pew Charitable Trusts also takes a look at states who are examining Medicaid Buy-In options as a way to expand access to coverage instead of waiting for the federal government to come up with a plan.
  • PBS News Hour has a great graphic illustrating all the federal public option proposals for expanding healthcare coverage floating around Capitol Hill. The Kaiser Family Foundation also has a thorough explanation of each plan, and an interactive tool to compare them.
  • A federal judge in Pennsylvania   issued a nationwide preliminary injunction Monday afternoon  to pause Trump administration rules that would restrict the ability of women to obtain birth control at no charge because their employers object on religious or moral grounds.  The ruling came less than 24 hours after a federal district court judge in California  issued a more limited stay  covering 13 states, including Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Events of Note
  • Thurs. - Sat., Jan. 24-26 - Families USA Health Action Conference 2019. This conference is an absolute must for consumer health policy advocates.  We will never forget the year Barack Obama came! And, guess what, it is at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Take advantage of early bird rates until Jan. 3rd - Register here.
Consumers need a voice in our state legislation! We spend hours and days crafting strategic policy and legislative priorities that advance access to affordable care for all Marylanders. That takes not only time, but resources. Help us help Maryland.


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