Maryland Matters 


Health care mandate

Sen. Brian J. Feldman (D-Montgomery), the new vice chairman of the Finance Committee, and Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk (D-Prince George’s), the new vice chair of the Health and Government Operations Committee, are reintroducing their bill to establish a health care mandate, similar to the federal mandate that existed under the Affordable Care Act until Congress and President Trump eliminated it in the 2017 tax reform package.

The sponsors are calling their measure a health care “down-payment.” It would require healthy, employed individuals to purchase health insurance, and the proceeds would be used to pay for medical care for the poor and indigent. If the bill passes, Maryland would become one of the first states to have a mandate of its own; Massachusetts adopted its mandate more than a decade ago, and it became the model for the ACA.

Hogan has expressed his skepticism of the measure, saying he’d prefer a federal solution to ensure greater health care coverage than a state mandate.

Prescription drug prices

Lawmakers will reintroduce a bill that fell short on the final day of the 2018 session, to set up a state commission that would hold the line on prescription drug prices.

As drafted, the Prescription Drug Affordability Board would consist of five members, appointed by the governor, attorney general and legislative leaders. It would have the power to review price spikes in drugs already on the market and new medications that have an initial cost above $30,000 per year.

Last modified: January 8, 2019