Health Care and Reproductive Rights
Since its inception in 2005, UULM-MD has worked in coalitions to achieve universal access to affordable, quality healthcare. UU voices have joined with other advocates to support system changes and incremental advancements, as well as to protect the progress made. UUs believe in the inherent worth and dignity of each person. Quality, affordable healthcare should be available for all in order to provide each individual with health, wholeness and dignity.
However, good healthcare is expensive. With each technological advance, care becomes more expensive and fewer people are able to afford it. Doctors and patients face dilemmas in delivery of care, breaks in doctor-patient understanding, inadequate or inappropriate treatments, bankruptcy and illness.
UULM-MD agrees that a federal single-payer system would provide universal coverage, but unfortunately significant consideration of this type of federal and state legislation has not taken place and does not look feasible in the near future. UULM-MD has supported the inclusion of a public option in reform legislation, but this has not been adopted.
Among other Some of the measures proposed over the last decade supported by, UULM-MD strongly supported were: the Governor’s Working Families and Small Business Health Care Coverage Act of 2007, which has expanded Medicaid eligibility for working families and foster children; provided discounts on prescription drugs for seniors; improved access to mental health and substance abuse treatment for low-income adults; created healthcare grants to help small businesses provide benefits to their employees; created nation’s first Prescription Affordability Board, and saved
money for Maryland.
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)
UULM-MD continues to support the implementation of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Since the adoption of the ACA, MD has decreased the number of uninsured from 12% to 6%. Progress has been made in reducing the severe gap in coverage of minority populations. For example, Marylanders who are low income and identify as Black and/or Hispanic gained health insurance at a greater rate than White Marylanders. The Maryland Health Equity Resource Act was adopted in 2021 to provide new funding for communities to address health inequities.
In 2020 there was a greater need for health insurance assistance from MD because of COVID-19, loss of job and subsequent loss of employer health insurance. Consequently, over 75,000 residents were added due to a special COVID enrollment via the Maryland Health Connection, which is a one-stop shop for health coverage in Maryland whether you qualify for public or private insurance. The site enables you to compare benefits, premiums, and prices. The Exchange’s Customer Service Center in Baltimore provides answers to questions about the new insurance program. The state-based insurance exchange provides access to financial assistance for individuals and families to help reduce the cost of monthly insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
A few basic facts:
A number of insurance companies offer a variety of plans through the Exchange Marketplace in Maryland.
Those on Medicare will continue to receive coverage under Medicare with some Increased benefits, including reduced costs for prescription drugs during the Medicare Part D “doughnut hole,” a yearly wellness exam, and no out-of-pocket costs for some preventive services.
It is illegal for someone to try to sell a policy through the Exchange to someone on Medicare.
You can no longer be denied insurance because of a pre-existing condition.
A child may continue to be covered on his/her parent’s policy until age 26.
Lifetime caps on insurance coverage have been eliminated.
Medicaid will be expanded.
Coverage through the Exchange is not available for undocumented individuals (Changing this is a priority for UULM-MD and the Immigration Issue Team is taking the lead on this 2023 legislation)
Reproductive Health Care Rights
UULM-MD joined other advocates in Maryland in 2022 to support Reproductive Health Care Rights legislation in anticipation of the Supreme Courts decision on 6/24/22 to overturn Roe v Wade.
“Our Unitarian Universalist faith affirms that all of our bodies are sacred, and that we are each
endowed with the twin gifts of agency and conscience. Each of us should have the power to
decide what does and doesn’t happen to our bodies at every moment of our lives because
consent and bodily autonomy are holy. And when disparities in resources or freedoms make it
more difficult for certain groups of people to exercise autonomy over their own bodies, our faith
compels us to take liberatory action.” (UU Standing on the Side of Love)