Tag: health care

DeMarco highlights health care policy goals for the upcoming legislative session

MarylandReporter.com spoke with Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative President Vincent DeMarco this week about his group’s three main policy goals for the upcoming legislative session: making prescription drugs more affordable, protecting and building on the Affordable Care Act, and promoting health equity. The 2021 legislative session is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, January 13.

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Rascovar: Crunch time for Prince George’s hospital

Here we go again: Another liberal-conservative showdown over a new hospital for Prince George’s County. Only this time, the confrontation isn’t between Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, Jr. and the Democratic legislature. Instead, the tug-of-war is between a conservative political scientist from a Republican think-tank and Democrats in the county who control its hospital system.

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Despite protests, $600 million contract for inmate health care approved

Despite a strong protest, the Board of Public Works unanimously awarded a $598 million contract to provide health services to 26,000 prison inmates over the next five years to Wexford Health Sources of Pittsburgh. As prison officials advised, it rejected the bid by Corizon Inc. of St. Louis, which has been providing two-thirds of the services to the prisoners for the last seven years.

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Compromise on health benefit exchange satisfies brokers

Hundreds of health insurance brokers who were afraid the O’Malley administration’s health benefits exchange would put them out of business are now reasonably happy with the bill that passed the House of Delegates Monday and was reported to the Senate by its Finance Committee Monday night.

“Common ground has been found,” said Steve Salamon of Landmark Insurance, who chaired a coalition of brokers and employers to fight the bill. He complimented Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and his team and Health Secretary Joshua Sharfstein for “reaching out to the broker community.”

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Pension commission delays decisions – but is told it can’t reduce COLAs

The commission examining changes to state retirement benefits put off any decisions until at least next week, but staff on Monday told the members that they couldn’t alter employee cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) – one of the largest areas for potential savings.

Freezing or capping COLAs for current and future retirees for five to 15 years was one scenario suggested to the Public Employees’ and Retirees’ Benefit Sustainability Commission. But Michael Rubinstein, a legislative analyst staffing the commission, told the commission that “simply from a legal question that approach is not viable.”

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State health commission hopes pilot program brings quality care, lower costs

The Maryland Health Care Commission recently launched an experiment that could change the way patients receive health care, increase reimbursements to physicians, and generate cost savings for insurance companies.

The commission, which is an an independent regulatory agency, is studying how to improve quality of health care by utilizing primary care physicians through its Patient Centered Medical Home pilot program. Study results will help model future state health care plans.

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Recouping erroneous Medicaid payment would help budget shortfall

Maryland spends $6 billion per year on health care through the Medicaid program — half of it federal money — and lawmakers are looking especially hard this year for ways to get some of that cash back.

Two high-profile and very different proposals are before the General Assembly, one proposed by Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley and the other by the House Republican Caucus.

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Retiree health insurance would add 25 percent to state payroll costs

Maryland would need to add more than 25 percent to its overall payroll cost if it is to catch up to its commitment to provide its retirees with health care, according to a recent report on nationwide public retiree health care costs.

The report, from the Center on State and Local Government Excellence, says Maryland’s liability of about $14.5 billion for retiree health care would require a $1.1 billion annual payment if the state were to fund the program in full.

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