Support Maryland Health Care Bills
Five important health care related bills have been introduced in the Maryland Legislature. Right now the three bills described below are our highest priority. All have upcoming hearings, and your input is important now. Please support them by contacting your Maryland State Senator and Delegates.
Health – Prescription Drug Affordability Board – (HB0768 and SB0759. This bill creates a board that will set prices for expensive drugs. It will evaluate new prescription drugs that cost more than $30,000 annually for the course of treatment or have increased by $300 annually. Marylanders are leading the charge against pharmaceutical manufacturers with this bill. The House version of this bill is sponsored by all MC delegates except.
Maryland Health Insurance Option (Protect Maryland Health Care Act of 2019) – (HB0814 and SB0802). These bills will allow the state to enact a penalty for those who choose not to get Health Care coverage in Maryland – restoring the individual mandate that had been enacted by the Federal Government. It then allows the penalty money to be used to buy low-cost insurance. The Maryland Health Insurance Exchange will automatically enroll the consumer in an ACA insurance plan that costs no more than the mandated penalty plus the federal subsidy that the consumer qualifies for. The consumer can still opt-out if they wish.
The House bill is in the Health and Government Operations Committee and the hearing will take place February 28. The Senate version was sent to two committees, Finance and Budget and Taxation, and that hearing will be held March 6.
Health Insurance – Consumer Protections (HB0697 and SB0868). This bill mandates that insurance companies must cover pre-existing conditions. It was sent to the House Health and Government Operations Committee and the hearing is scheduled for February 21. The Senate Finance Committee has not yet scheduled a hearing for their version of the bill.
Here is what you need to have an impact.
Understand the Legislative Process: As soon as a bill is introduced (first reading) it is referred to one or more committees in each chamber. The committees hold hearings, receive testimony, and make their recommendations (favorable, favorable with amendment(s) or unfavorable) before being reintroduced to the entire chamber for a vote.
Health Care Related bills are generally sent to the following committees:
- House Health and Government Operations Committee, three of whose members are from Montgomery County: Bonnie Cullison, Ariana Kelly, and Alfred Carr, Jr.
- Senate Finance Committee, with MC members Brian Feldman and Ben Kramer.
- SenateBudget and Taxation (occasionally) with MC members Nancy King (Chair) and Craig Zucker.
You may call or write your senator and delegates. If any of the committee members listed above represent your district, be absolutely sure to contact them! If you can add something about why these bills are important to you, please do so. But remember, even a brief phone call is far superior to NO phone call!
Script for Calling Your Senator and Delegates:
Hi, My name is _____________. I am a member of DoTheMostGood MoCo and a constituent of (Delegate/Senator _______ ). I live at ______________________.
I would like the Delegate/Senator to support HB0000/SB0000, [name of bill] addresses [intent or 1 sentence summary of the bill]
This bill is important to me because [your personal statement]
Will Delegate/Senator ___________ support this bill? [Yes/No/Undecided response.]
- [Yes response]: Please thank Delegate/Senator __________ for [his][her] support.
- [No response]: Please letDelegate/Senator __________ know that I support this bill.
- [Undecided response]: I hopeDelegate/Senator __________ will seriously consider this bill and give it [his][her]support.
Thank you for your time.
Other Health Care Bills
DTMG is supporting the other two health care bills, too. But right now, focus your attention on the three bills above with upcoming hearings.
Health Insurance – Individual Market Stabilization – Provider Fee – (HB0258 and SB0239) This bill will allow the state to tax insurance providers whenever the Federal government fails to tax them according to the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The monies that will be collected will go into the Maryland Reinsurance fund, which helps lower the price of insurance in Maryland. Both hearings have taken place but a vote on the floor is not yet scheduled.
Public Health – Overdose and Infectious Disease Prevention Site Program – (HB0139 and SB0135) This bill will reduce overdose deaths and the transmission of infectious disease by establishing safe places for people who are addicted to opioids to self-administer preobtained drugs, providing sterile needles, and administering first aid and provide certain other services. It has multiple sponsors; if your delegate or senator is a sponsor be sure to thank them! Hearings were held February 14; floor votes have not been scheduled.