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Media Advisory: Advocates win major support for Health Insurance Downpayment Legislation

Major Health Organizations to Endorse Legislation in Annapolis Feb. 13

What: Major Endorsements Announced for Health Insurance Down Payment Legislation
Who 

  • Bob Atlas, President, Maryland Hospital Association
  • Laura Hale, Maryland State Government Relations Director, American Heart Association
  • Ricarra Jones, Deputy Political Director, 1199 SEIU
  • Representatives of MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society and the NAACP
  • Sen. Brian Feldman (Montgomery County) Lead Senate Sponsor
  • Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk (Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties) Lead House Sponsor
  • Vincent DeMarco, president, Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative

When: Wednesday,  February 13, 2019, 12:30 p.m.
Where: MedChi office, 224 Main St., Annapolis, Md., 21401

Major health organizations join the Maryland Health Care For All! Coalition and legislative leaders to announce their support for legislation to establish a Health Insurance Down Payment Plan for Maryland at an Annapolis press conference Feb. 13, giving increasing momentum to the measure to expand access to care.

 MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society; the Maryland Hospital Association; and the American Heart Association will endorse the measure to establish the health insurance down payment program, joining 1199 SEIU, the NAACP, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Maryland Non Profits and dozens of other statewide organizations. Sponsored by Sen. Brian Feldman (Montgomery) as Senate Bill 802 and by Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk (Prince George’s and Anne Arundel) as House Bill 814, the down payment measure has over 80 co-sponsors in the General Assembly.

 Instead of imposing tax penalties on the uninsured, the Maryland proposal helps the uninsured enroll into coverage whenever possible. As uninsured residents file state tax returns, they can avoid an insurance responsibility payment by agreeing to get health insurance and keep it through the end of the year. They can apply for financial assistance and immediately begin the enrollment process by simply checking a box on their tax return. More than 130,000 uninsured Marylanders now offered essentially free health insurance could gain coverage. Since they are disproportionately young and healthy, premiums in the individual market will decline; and when fewer uninsured visit the hospital emergency room for care, costs come down for all of us.

 “We are excited about these important endorsements for this legislation to create a health insurance down payment program to enroll more Marylanders in affordable insurance plans,” said Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, which is leading the effort to pass the measure. “More and more Marylanders know we have to act to bring down health costs and expand access to affordable care.”

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