By Kalena Thomhave
June 6, 2019
The Trump administration has spent the last two and a half years doggedly attacking the Affordable Care Act (ACA). From limiting advertising and outreach, shortening enrollment periods, and killing the individual mandate at the federal level, to approving state plans to eliminate health coverage for many Medicaid recipients, the administration has undermined and weakened the law even as a Republican-majority Congress failed to completely strike down the ACA. The national uninsured rate rose in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to Gallup data, from a historic low of 10.9 percent in 2016 to 13.7 percent. That increase represents an additional seven million adults left uninsured.
In response to these attacks, lawmakers in Maryland recently passed legislation that will make it easier for state residents to enroll in health care. The new program will not only widen the insurance pool and keep premiums down, but it is also a groundbreaking new way to ensure that nearly everyone who is eligible for assistance actually receives it. Yet very low-income people and the immigrant community may not benefit from the new program.
Starting next year, uninsured residents filing state taxes can check a box on their return to enroll in health coverage, and the state will use financial data from to tax record to determine eligibility for Medicaid or private insurance from the state health exchange. The Easy Enrollment Health Program was passed unanimously in the state Senate and with heavy bipartisan support in the House. Republican Governor Larry Hogan signed it into law in May.Last modified: June 6, 2019