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July 19, 2010

Health care reform task force passes interim plan

A task force charged with overseeing sweeping federal health care reform in Maryland approved Monday an interim plan that outlines steps to prepare for the changes it will bring.

The plan sets goals such as containing costs while improving quality, expanding the health care work force to meet demands of new patients and making sure reform actually leads to the better health of Maryland residents.

The 12-member Maryland Health Care Reform Coordinating Council voted unanimously to approve the plan. Three members were absent.

Most facets of reform will not take place until 2004, although some other parts will take place a little earlier.

For instance, the state was awarded $85 million in federal funds earlier this month to help immediately insure people with pre-existing conditions. The state is using the money to increase its high-risk pool, which now insures about 20,000 people. The state will start accepting applications for the high-risk pool in August, and people will be able to enroll in September.

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown said the interim plan helps to set the frame work of what the state will need to do to implement more sweeping elements of reform.

“Because of the enormity of this, we think it is important to spend time on the up-front work to set up a foundation,” Brown said.

Brown co-chairs the coordinating council with John M. Colmers, secretary of state of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The committee also announced chairs of working groups that will come up with concrete ways to implement reform.

For example, one group will look at how to create health care exchanges where people can shop for coverage with subsidies. The state is also looking at creating pilot programs to test out new ways of caring for patients.

The council’s interim report will be officially released Monday. The report will include a cost analysis outlining how much money Maryland taxpayers will save under health care reform. The report will also include an overview of the federal legislation, key points the state needs to address and potential grants and funding opportunities. Some of the suggestions in the report were taken from more than 160 ideas from the public submitted on a state website and during past hearings.

A final report is due to Gov. Martin O’Malley Jan. 1.

State officials have said that they are in better shape than other steps because they already have initiatives for the uninsured, such as its high-risk pool.

Posted by Andrea Walker at 6:40 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Health care reform


More socialism from socialist. You seek nothing more than to make people dependent on government to create a depedent constituency. You are nothing but scum socialists. This Board needs to be disbanded and the plan scrapped.

2014 cannot arrive fast enough. Glad to see Maryland being so proactive.

If the report is honest it will show that the tax-payers of Maryland will not be saving ANY money under health care reform. Current statistics show that only 53% of all Americans pay ANY income tax at all! So you tell me where the money to pay for this boondoggle is going to come from.
There is also the very real possibility that the program will not be funded by the new conservative congress this fall and repealed in whole or in part in 2012 when the current occupant of the White House is sent packing back to Chicago.

High risk pool doesn't help me. I am trying to pay high cost for Cobra healthcare insurance (over $660/month) while on SSDI (my only income). I have a year before I qualify for Medicare. Since you must be uninsured for six consecutive months before you can even apply for the high risk pool, I am left out in the cold. What about people like me?????

Lee you might want to try the state high risk pool the Maryland Health Insurance Plan (MHIP). There's no 6 month waiting period but the premiums depending on your health may be more than you can afford.

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About Picture of Health
Meredith CohnMeredith Cohn has been a reporter since 1991, covering everything from politics and airlines to the environment and medicine. A runner since junior high and a particular eater for almost as long, she tries to keep up on health and fitness trends. Her aim is to bring you the latest news and information from the local and national medical and wellness communities.

Andrea K. WalkerAndrea K. Walker knows it’s weird to some people, but she has a fascination with fitness, diseases, medicine and other health-related topics. She subscribes to a variety of health and fitness magazines and becomes easily engrossed in the latest research in health and science. An exercise fanatic, she’s probably tried just about every fitness activity there is. Her favorites are running, yoga and kickboxing. So it is probably fitting that she has been assigned to cover the business of healthcare and to become a regular contributor to this blog. Andrea has been at The Sun for nearly 10 years, covering manufacturing, retail , airlines and small and minority business. She looks forward to telling readers about the latest health news.

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