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Media Advisory

Maryland Leaders Celebrate Historic Gains in Health Care Coverage Through 10 Years of the Affordable Care Act

ACA is proving its enormous value amid coronavirus pandemic 

WHAT: Call-in news conference to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act and the positive impact it has had in Maryland

WHO: Senator Ben Cardin
Senator Chris Van Hollen
Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05), House Majority Leader
Congressman John Sarbanes (MD-03)
Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08)
Maryland Legislative Leaders in Health Care Reform:

  • Delegate Shane Pendergrass, Chair, Health and Government Operations Committee
  • Senator Brian Feldman
  • Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk

Michele Eberle, Executive Director, Maryland Health Benefit Exchange
Vincent DeMarco, President, Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative

WHEN: Monday, March 23, 2020, 12 p.m.

WHERE: Conference call (Recording)

 

As Maryland and the entire nation work to combat the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Maryland leaders will highlight the 10th anniversary of President Obama signing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law and its enormous impact on health in the state.

This law extended health care coverage to 32 million Americans, reduced the number of uninsured Marylanders to an historic low of 6% and is helping to make health care more affordable for all of us.

Maryland’s approach to implementing the ACA over the past ten years has been robust and innovative. The state expanded Medicaid to the fullest extent of the law and created the Maryland Health Connection, a marketplace where Marylanders without employer-sponsored coverage can obtain quality plans that are more affordable and benefit from important consumer protections enshrined in the health care law.

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. There are tens of thousands of Marylanders who would be eligible to use this new program to sign up for free or low-cost health insurance.

“Thousands of Marylanders are facing the current pandemic with quality health coverage that they did not have prior to passage of the Affordable Care Act,” said Sen. Ben Cardin. “For 10 years, the ACA has been under attack while simultaneously helping millions. As we celebrate a decade of expanded health coverage for all Americans, we will do all we can to preserve and improve health care in this country.”

“As our country continues to face the challenges of the coronavirus, the need for a strong healthcare system is all the more clear,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen. “The Affordable Care Act was critical in expanding healthcare in Maryland and across our country, and we must fight to protect it against the Trump Administration’s continued attacks.”

“On the 10th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act being signed into law, our nation and nations around the world are facing the grave threat of a global pandemic,” said Congressman Steny Hoyer. “The public health crisis caused by the coronavirus reminds us how important universal, affordable health care is. We must continue to fight against attempts by the Trump Administration to undermine our health care system. I join in thanking Vinny and the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative for the work they are doing to expand access to coverage.”

“Over the last 10 years, the ACA has made significant improvements to America’s health care system,” said Rep. John Sarbanes. “Millions more Americans have the opportunity to get covered with health insurance and access high-quality, affordable care. Millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage or be forced to pay higher deductibles and premiums. Insurance plans must provide essential benefits, like maternity care and prescription drugs. These and so many other benefits that came from the ACA are under attack by the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans, who continue to try and dismantle the law. We cannot allow President Trump and Republicans in Congress to take away these vital protections and benefits from the American people – especially as we face the alarming threat of the coronavirus pandemic.”

“We are grateful for Maryland leaders who have supported a State-based marketplace and have brought health insurance to hundreds of thousands in Maryland,” said Michele Eberle, executive director of Maryland Health Benefit Exchange.

With the coronavirus spreading, the state recently announced that it will hold a special open enrollment period through Maryland Health Connection, the state’s online health insurance marketplace, a key component of the ACA.

Maryland has been at the forefront of states diligently defending the ACA from federal sabotage. The General Assembly this year passed legislation to enshrine the key principles of the ACA into state law in case the ACA is overturned by the courts or Congress.

“The ACA has helped millions of people in Maryland and across the country have high-quality, affordable health care – a crucial factor as we deal with the coronavirus,” said Vincent DeMarco, President of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative. “This is an appropriate time to thank President Obama as well as our elected leaders in Washington and Annapolis for passing this critical measure and for taking decisive local action to improve the state’s health system.

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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