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The Way Forward on Healthcare

At a DTMG Healthcare Team meeting on September 6, Kelly Whitener, Associate Professor at Georgetown University’s School for Public Policy Center on Children and Families, outlined the “hot topics” on the national health agenda. Members then went on to brainstorm “what can we do” action steps.
Topic One: The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), along with Medicaid, covers about 1/3 of the children in the US. Although this program has bipartisan support, it is in danger of losing its designated funding by the end of September, or at least of having it delayed, because some in Congress feel that it is covered by other funding mechanisms. Funding cuts or a restrictive block grant for this ACA-mandated program would throw a huge burden onto the states. A short-term 3-6 month extension would hamper efforts at long-term planning. This program, which expands Medicaid, is particularly critical for children with disabilities.
Topic Two: Medicaid State Innovation Waivers allow states to provide services to people in their homes and in their communities rather than in institutions. For instance, some waivers allow funding matches for testing new service delivery systems or researching individual treatment options. A major concern: To save money, especially, if, once again, Congress imposes cuts or limits funding through block grants, states may impose restrictions such as time limits, drug testing, and work requirements.
Topic Three: The “3 Rs”: Risk Adjustment, Reinsurance, and Risk Corridors provisions protect people with pre-existing conditions and work to stabilize premiums and insurer gains and losses in the early years of the Affordable Care Act.

Dr. Widener also informed the group of four Senate Health Education Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee hearings on stabilizing premiums and helping individuals in the Individual Insurance Market for 2018.  Consult the web for broadcasts.

  • Educate people about and help them access the ACA (many methods and venues discussed)
  • Contact Hogan (talking points, contact) and educate his voters
  • Attend forums (Richard Montgomery on 10/4/17)
  • Keep track of pending legislation
  • Build connections outside of Montgomery County
  • Text 228466 to get Daily Action alerts

This meeting, focused on the national level, was the first in a series of three. The next will home in on the state, and the third will examine issues and actions at the county level. Upcoming meetings will be announced here.

Highlights from the past few months:

  • We are supporting a petition from ACLU to condemn Trump’s attack on affordable access to birth control that threatens to gut the benefit ensuring that all workplace insurance plans cover birth control with no co-pay/>
  • June 2, 2017
    On June 2, DTMG MoCo traveled to Annapolis to deliver a letter and petitions to Governor Hogan on the impact of efforts to repeal the ACA. The letter expressed our disagreement with Health & Human Services Secretary Price’s views on Medicaid expansion and access to care for our most vulnerable populations, and his contention that he wanted to empower states to innovate in healthcare delivery through Section 1115 Medicaid demonstration waivers when that waiver program has been available to States for decades.

    The petition, along with a separate letter, called for Governor Hogan to stand up against the AHCA.
    Governor Hogan:
    We, the undersigned demand that you Take a Stand and Oppose the American Health Care Act (AHCA). This new plan will raise premiums, reduce coverage, and weaken protections for people with preexisting conditions. It will roll back the progress we have made in Maryland under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has reduced the percentage of uninsured Marylanders from 11.3% in 2010 to 6.6% in 2015. While governors of both parties have denounced the AHCA, you have appointed Robert Moffit, a strong opponent of the ACA, as the new chair the Maryland Health Care Commission.

    While delivering the letters and petition, our representatives met with the Director of Constituent Services for Governor Hogan and discussed our concerns about repealing the ACA, eliminating the Medicaid expansion and the appointment of Robert Moffitt as Chair of the Maryland Health Care Commission. He indicated he would discuss our concerns with the Governor.
  • On May 22nd we hosted a Do The Most Good Teach-In for Activists on Protecting Our Healthcare in conjunction with Consumer Health First:

  • In late April, DTMG delivered a letter to Montgomery County Council members protesting a proposed 1% cut to the Health Care Programs for low-income and uninsured residents of Montgomery County. We met with the chief of staff for Councilmember Marc Elrich. Not long thereafter, the County Executive withdrew the 1% cut proposal.
  • In late March we attended the Amplify Our Voices rally in Annapolis:

    Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen joins members of DTMG at the Amplify Our Voices rally in Annapolis.
  • In early March, we held a virtual phone bank in conjunction with Progressive Maryland to ask Maryland voters to call and urge the Governor to preserve the ACA in Maryland
  • In late February, we held an ACA strategy and Legislative Training Session.
  • In mid-February, DTMG sent an email to Governor Hogan describing the impact to Maryland of the Repeal of the ACA.


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