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Maryland health care advocates celebrate after repeal bill fails

July 29, 2017
Kate Amara

Maryland supporters of the Affordable Care Act agree with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, when he said, “It’s time to move on.”

McConnell’s remarks came after the Republican health care bill failed to pass.

“We are here with one simple message: The life-saving Affordable Care Act is here to stay,” said Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative.

Affordable Care Act advocates in Maryland are thrilled. They said they’re celebrating that uncertainty is over when it comes to the future of the act.

Baltimore resident and self-proclaimed proud Medicaid recipient Ramar Robinson told reporters that he went to bed Thursday night with the fate of his health care coverage in limbo.

“I went to sleep at about 10 p.m., but did wake up at about 1:30 a.m. with just this sense of anxiety about what was going on,” Robinson said.

The failure of the Republicans’ latest “Obamacare repeal bill” was good news for Maryland lawmakers who opposed it, from Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to Maryland’s senior U.S. senator, Democrat Ben Cardin.

“Neither party can do this on its own. We need everybody working together,” Cardin said.

Affordable Care Act advocates said Marylanders shouldn’t be scared to enroll for health insurance.

“Since Nov. 8, there have been people who have been afraid to sign up for Medicaid, or sign up for private insurance, thinking it was going to be gone. They should not have that fear anymore,” DeMarco said.

WBAL-TV 11 News asked the Maryland Health Connection what the Senate’s vote means for people in Maryland. Spokeswoman Betsy Plunkett told 11 News: “It means nothing has changed for Marylanders. The Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land.”

Open enrollment starts Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 15.

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