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Media Release: Maryland Congressional Leaders, Maryland Legislators, and Advocate Voice Strong Support for the Affordable Care Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 23, 2020

Contact: Vincent DeMarco | 410-591-9162 | demarco@mdinitiative.org

Congressional Leaders, Maryland Legislators and Advocates Voice Strong Support for the Affordable Care Act

On its 10th Anniversary, ACA has insured millions and is proving its enormous value amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Maryland Congressional representatives, state legislative leaders and the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange joined the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative (MCHI) today in voicing strong support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Their comments came during a news conference marking the 10th anniversary of the ACA, which has led to more than 20 million people, including 400,000 Marylanders, being covered with affordable insurance.

“The Affordable Care Act is critically important as we battle the coronavirus outbreak. We hope everyone will work to protect and build on the ACA as we have in a bipartisan manner in Maryland,” said MCHI President Vincent DeMarco. “When people are uninsured and can’t get the care they need to be healthy, we are all at risk. Now more than ever, the ACA is vital to the health of Maryland and the entire country.”

A recording of the news conference is here.

“This conversation couldn’t be more timely,” said Senator Ben Cardin. “We have to maintain the health care coverage we have now. We’re in a national health care emergency today and we have an administration trying to bring down the protections of the Affordable Care Act. If we lose the Affordable Care Act, we’ll subject hundreds of thousands of Marylanders to the health care system without insurance.”

“This was landmark legislation and it’s important to celebrate 10 years and rededicate ourselves to protecting it,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen. “Maryland is doing that through measures we are taking on a bipartisan basis. At the federal level, we need to protect the important foundation of the Affordable Care Act and build it up. The coronavirus underscores the importance of having a universal health care system with affordable access for all.”

“Ten years ago, Democrats took bold action to reform our broken healthcare system. Because of the Affordable Care Act 20 million more Americans are covered,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer, the House Majority Leader. “We face an unprecedented pandemic, which emphasizes how critically important having full health care coverage for everybody is. We are all in this together, and we know the health of every other American is important ultimately to our health.”

Also voicing support for maintaining and expanding the ACA were Reps. John Sarbanes and Jamie Raskin. Health care leaders in the General Assembly also took part in the call: Delegate Shane Pendergrass, chair of the Health and Government Operations Committee; Senator Brian Feldman; and Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk. Also participating was Michele Eberle, executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange

Maryland has also been at the forefront working to build on the ACA to make health care even more accessible and affordable. This is the first year uninsured Marylanders can begin enrolling in health care coverage by checking a box on their state income taxes. With the person’s permission, the Comptroller can then share this information with the Maryland Health Connection to expedite enrollment. Other states are looking to replicate this “Easy Enrollment” model to achieve higher rates of coverage and stabilize rates in the individual market, and Senator Van Hollen is working on legislation that would make it easier for other states to adopt a similar insurance enrollment program. Tens of thousands of Marylanders are eligible to use this new program to sign up for free or low-cost health insurance.

The Health Care for All! Coalition is a broad-based coalition of faith, labor, business and community groups that have been working to guarantee Marylanders access to quality, affordable health care. To learn more, visit www.healthcareforall.com.

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