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Published on June 29th, 2012 | by Cynthia Prairie

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State Roundup, June 29, 2012

HEALTH REFORM & MARYLAND: States including Maryland can move with more certainty to insure their poor, and the federal government can require others to buy health coverage after the Supreme Court upheld President Barack Obama’s landmark health care law yesterday, writes Meredith Cohn and Andrea Walker of the Sun.

The Washington Post offers a handy and quick little questionnaire so that you can find out what the reforms will mean for you.

SWIFT REACTION POLITICAL & PERSONAL: The torrent of comment on the Supreme Court decision to uphold most of the Affordable Care Act fell predictably along party and ideological lines: Democrats and progressives were exulting; Republicans and conservatives were disgusted, except for the ruling that the individual mandate was a tax. It will take several days to digest the full implications, but here are reactions received by MarylandReporter.com.

Blogging in the Post, John Wagner writes that Gov. Martin O’Malley said the Supreme Courts decision would “protect the lives of millions of Marylanders and millions of Americans.”

WBFF-TV also gets reaction from Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Vincent DeMarco of the Health Care for All Coalition.

The Supreme Court’s health care decision gave a boost to President Barack Obama and Maryland Democrats but left the political landscape unsettled as Republicans doubled down on threats to undo the landmark law, either in Congress or by way of the election in November, writes John Fritze of the Sun.

Patch.com’s Penny Riordan, Marc Shapiro, and Tyler Waldman gather reaction from Baltimore County, including Dr. John Chessare, president of GBMC HealthCare, who blogged that he worked in Massachusetts during then-Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign for a similar bill on the state level and said he was “proud” of Romney’s work there, saying it reduced costs for small businesses.

WBFF-TV interviews Dr. Chessare, who says he likes the ban on insurance companies denying coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Jon Meoli of the Towson Times writes about a family personally invested in seeing health care reform upheld – they have a 3-year-old with leukemia.

Brian Goff, president of Annapolis-based Insurance Solutions, worries the Supreme Court’s landmark health care reform ruling could further financially squeeze small businesses already struggling to survive and have dire consequences for smaller businesses like construction companies and restaurants because they rely on a seasonal workforce, Shantee Woodward writes in the Capital-Gazette.

Frederick residents had a range of reactions to the Supreme Court’s decision, writes Courtney Mabeus of the Frederick News-Post, but one refrain was near constant: “Wow, that’s kind of, uh, very interesting. It’s not what I expected.”

Eric Maynard, president and CEO of Event Tech, said the law probably will drive up costs for his Curtis Bay business, which provides technical support, staffing and equipment for events, writes Kevin James Shay for the Gazette.

Calum McKinney of the Salisbury Daily Times writes that the state’s congressional delegation predictably reacted along party lines.

Chris Knauss of the Easton Star-Democrat interviews Del. Addie Eckardt, a Republican and psychiatric nurse, who says that problems will continue to exist in health care delivery in the United States and especially on the Shore where there is a distinct shortage of health care providers.

The president and chief executive officer of Meritus Health in Hagerstown said “We are pleased with the decision,” Julie Greene reports in the Herald-Mail.

Maryland had forged ahead in planning a health benefit exchange and already has shared information with as many as 10 states on how to implement that key component of health care reform, The Gazette’s Margie Hyslop reports.

The Cumberland Times-News gets local and state reaction to the decision, including former city councilman Pete Elliott, who said, “I didn’t like it when it first started and I like it less now.”

THE IMPACT: Marc Steiner of WEAA-FM speaks with guests about the impact that the Supreme Court ruling will have. Dan Rodricks used both hours on his WYPR-FM show to discuss Obamacare. Here’s hour 1. And here’s hour 2, in which Dr. Peter Beilenson reveals he has Parkinson’s (See below).

BEILENSON REVEALS PARKINSON’S: On the day the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the central provisions of the federal health care overhaul he has championed as Maryland’s most visible public health official, Dr. Peter Beilenson revealed, publicly and for the first time, that he has Parkinson’s disease. Since he was first diagnosed five years ago, Beilsenson established Healthy Howard, the initiative — “Obamacare” in miniature — that has made health care available to uninsured county residents, columnist Dan Rodricks writes in the Sun.

FIGHT POACHING, POLLUTION: Daniel Leaderman of the Gazette writes about the new tougher laws that will go active on July 1 in an attempt to protect the bay by preventing poaching and over-oystering.

FLUSH TAX HIKE: The state’s “flush” tax on sewer bills will double to $5 a month, under a law taking effect Sunday. That’s an increase from $30 to $60 annually to upgrade wastewater treatment facilities to reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, according to an AP story at WMAR-TV.

BONGINO ON DEMS: Maryland senatorial candidate Dan Bongino Wednesday accused Prince George’s County and Baltimore City Democrats of ineffective policies and “neglect” of their constituents on policy issues including education and the economy.

2012 FARM BILL: Marc Steiner of WEAA-FM discusses the 2012 Farm Bill with Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, Maryland Rep. Donna Edwards, Delaware Sen. Tom Carper, Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons and Mother Jones blogger Tom Phillpot

CHIEF AUDITOR RETIRES: Bruce Myers, Maryland’s watchdog-in-chief, will wind up a 30-year career in state government today when he retires as director of the Office of Legislative Audits, Michael Dresser reports in the Sun.

LOBBYISTS’ TAKE: Penn National reported spending $877,433 on lobbyists between November and April, a stretch that included the annual legislative session, John Wagner blogs in the Post. The Maryland State Education Association was second in spending, with a reported $502,345. Here’s a list of lobbyists and how much they received.

JUDY AGNEW DEAD AT 91: Elinor Isabel “Judy” Agnew, who as the wife of former Baltimore County Executive, Maryland Gov. and Vice President Spiro T. Agnew preferred quiet domesticity to that of the political limelight, died June 20 in Rancho Mirage, Calif. She was 91, reports Fred Rasmussen of the Sun.

FREE SPEECH: Victor Zapana of the Post reports on a federal appeals court striking down a controversial Montgomery County health regulation that requires anti-abortion pregnancy centers to provide a health disclaimer to patients.

The centers were required by a 2010 county resolution to post a conspicuous and “easily readable” sign in English and Spanish proclaiming that “the center does not have a licensed medical professional on staff; and the Montgomery County Health Officer encourages women who are or may be pregnant to consult with a licensed health care provider,” writes Rachel Baye of the Washington Examiner.

WASTE TO ENERGY PARTNERS: Frederick County has the green light to pursue new partners for the proposed waste-to-energy incinerator plant, writes Pete McCarthy for the Frederick News-Post. Members of the Carroll County Commissioners signed a letter yesterday to allow the discussions, but the move does not remove Carroll County from the partnership.

NOTEBOOK: The Gazette’s Reporters Notebook has items on Michael Steele’s mustache; Heather Mizeur’s dog; Allan Kittleman’s HoCo run; student achievement; the Marriott’s giving to Romney; and a fracking fine.

GANSLER ON MALVO: Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole for juveniles — such as the sentence Lee Boyd Malvo received in Virginia — was unconstitutional, the Maryland sentence could keep Malvo in prison for the rest of his life, Benjamin Ford reports in the Gazette. Attorney General Doug Gansler, then Montgomery County state’s attorney, feels vindicated by his decision to prosecute.

GAMBLING DEAL: Gazette columnist Blair Lee writes that Maryland’s gambling expansion, like Humpty Dumpty, took a big fall last week. And now all the king’s horses and men are trying to put gambling expansion back together again.

O’MALLEY’S TRAVELS: The well-traveled governor is spending less and less time on Maryland affairs, and it shows, Barry Rascovar writes in his Gazette column. His lack of enthusiasm for aggressively pushing his policy objectives — and making sure he wins — is quite startling.

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