Health Care and the 2021 Session
As bills are introduced, we will provide bill numbers and links to the actual bill text.
This year, UULM-MD will continue to build on the strong support and foundation in MD which has increased the numbers of people on Medicaid and provided health insurance for those in need at lower costs and subsidies. Since adoption of the ACA, MD has decreased the number of uninsured from 12% to 6%. In 2020 there was a greater need for help from MD because of COVID-19, loss of jobs and no employer health insurance. Over 75,000 residents were added due to a special COVID enrollment.
Legislative priorities for 2021 are:
Veto Override - SB759/HB768-- Prescription Drug Affordability Board and Fund: This 2020 legislation was vetoed by the Governor and there will be a vote to override the veto in the 2021 session. The bill would provide state funds while establishing a permanent revenue source for the Board. This legislation would have also accelerated the Board's plans to institute an assessment on pharmaceutical manufacturers and supply chain members.
Health Equity Resource Communities Initiative - HB 463 / SB 172 - This proposed legislation would provide services to underserved areas of the state. It is modeled on 2012-2016 Health Enterprise Zones Program which increased access to health resources, improved residents’ health, reduced hospital admissions, and created cost savings. This program will address the poor health outcomes that contribute to racial, ethnic, and geographic health inequities which have been evident in the COVID-19 pandemic. This program would be funded by a 1% increase on the alcohol tax. A resolution from Health Care for All has gained over 200 supporting groups including UULM-MD and UU congregations.
Easy Enrollment Program Program: This program is based on legislation we supported in 2018 to have a box on the income tax form for people to say they do not have health insurance. A follow-up process was set up for those interested to determine if they are eligible for the Maryland Health Exchange. A legislative study was conducted in 2020 which will lead to legislation to build on this model. Residents who apply for unemployment would be connected to the Exchange if they wanted to be. Also, subsidies could be provided for insurance if they were not eligible for Medicaid.
For more information, please contact the Health Care Task Force Co-Chairs Betty McGarvie Crowley and Chris Hager at HealthCare@uulmmd.org.