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In Poor Health

This is a 5-part series from the Capital News Services' "In Poor Health" project, which highlights the disparities in health care in Baltimore based in part on one's zip code. We'll link to the full series as they beome avaialble:

  1. Unhealthy Baltimore: Barriers block path to better health care for poor
  2. UnHealthy Baltimore: Hurdles to health
  3. Unhealthy Baltimore: Distrust in the hospital room



We Are Having a Party and YOU Are Invited!!

Register Now!

 Maryland’s champions of health care reform will gather on May 19, 2016 for a festive evening of celebration. Over the past ten years, the Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform has pursued its mission to advance health equity through access to high quality, comprehensive and affordable health care. 

At To Your Health!, we will toast the accomplishments of the Coalition and raise our glass to others who have been true health care reformers. We will also raise a glass to honor Senator Barbara Mikulski. For 38 years, she has represented the people of Maryland in the United States Congress. In 2010, she stood by President Obama’s side as he signed the Affordable Care Act.

Come join the fun! Jive to the jammin' jazz of the Jumpstreet Band, bid on a terrific array of silent auction items, and be the first to hear our exciting news!

You won’t want to miss this – get more information and register now!

Webinar - 2016 General Assembly: A Look Back & What's Ahead

We had a terrific Webinar on April 28th, with four health policy and consumer advocates who provided a look back at key health care reform legislation in the 2016 Maryland General Assembly, and then took a look at our policy agenda for the rest of the year. In case you missed it, we recorded it! You can stream or download it here.


General Assembly is over, and there's reason to celebrate!!

This was the second General Assembly session of Governor Hogan's administration, and it was a busy one! 2,871 bills were filed (up by 25% over 2015), and 834 bills passed. As always, our focus was on securing consumer-centered health care reform related legislation. The following are a list of our victories.We also thought it would be helpful to show some of the other bills we worked on, but which failed to get through the Legislature. In some cases bills were withdrawn - generally because the fiscal note and, therefore, the impact on the budget was considered too high - or because consensus could not be reached on amendments before the end of the General Assembly session.

SB929/HB1318 - Health Benefit Plans - Network Access Standards and Provider Network Directories - This legislation was an outgrowth of two reports done in 2015 by the Coalition and Mental Health Association of Maryland. These demonstrated the challenges consumers face in identifying a provider and then getting the services they need. Joining together the two organizations put forward a bill that was sponsored by Senator Klausmeier and Delegate Kelly. We very much appreciate their leadership. (Find a fact sheet on the bill here).

The final legislation, passed by both the Senate and House with unanimous votes, represented a coming together of advocates, insurance carriers and others.  The result is a consensus bill that includes a number of key provisions. These include a process to identify specific standards that carriers must address in designing their network of providers to ensure consumers' access to needed services.  It also puts in place provisions that will support greater accuracy in the information contained in the provider directories.

For a complete list of the bills we tracked and supported during the 2016 General Assembly session, and their outcomes, please visit our Legislative Victories page.


Uninsured Rate at Record Low / Health Spending Rate Down Also

From Politico:

The uninsured rate among all adults was 11 percent in the first quarter of 2016, a slight decline from 11.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to Gallup data released Thursday. It's the lowest level since Gallup and Healthways began tracking the uninsured rate in 2008.

National health spending in February 2016 grew just 4.8 percent year-over-year - the fourth consecutive month when health spending growth remained below 5 percent.

And after a bump in service spending related to patients obtaining coverage via the ACA, service spending growth has steadily fallen from the first quarter of 2015.

What it means: Despite fears that Obamacare coverage expansion would end health care's spending slowdown, a "more permanent" change appears to be underway, Altarum's Paul Hughes-Cromwick told PULSE. "Health care price growth is extremely low, but as spending is price times quantity, we can only conclude that utilization has not rebounded as predicted [or] feared." See Altarum's indicators:


Delivery System Transformation and Payment Reform 

Maryland continues to move forward with the transformation of its delivery system with the All-Payer Model overseen by the Health Services Cost Review Commission.  An interim report from the Advisory Council is being prepared that will provide insights to the Commissioners on the current implementation and provide recommendations on future implementation efforts.  Consumer advocates are encouraged to stay engaged in this process and to make their voices heard.  Information on all aspects of this process can be found here.

Integral to this effort is the work of the  Duals Care Delivery Workgroup at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.  Its purpose is to identify, discuss, and plan ways to address the fragmentation of care faced by individuals who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.