The Afro

July 29, 2017
Deborah Bailey

The Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative joined health advocacy groups across the nation to celebrate the survival of the ‘Obamacare’ Affordable Care Act (ACA) on July 28.  In a dramatic early morning vote, Senate Republicans failed to repeal the ACA after seven years of trying.

“Today is a great day. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay.  But let me emphasize this: We’re going to continue to work to achieve our goal of quality affordable health care for all Marylanders by building on the Affordable Care Act,” said Vincent DeMarco, president of Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative.

“[The] vote to thwart Trumpcare was the glimmer of hope that we needed to ensure that Democracy is still valued,” said Ramar Robinson, a 27-year-old health advocate who was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder in 2014 and receives treatment through Maryland’s Medicaid Program.

“This is not the first, second, third or last attempt by this administration to try and revoke our rights to wellness and peace of mind,” Robinson added. “We will not rest and [will] continue to fight and push back for what is right for all. We the people have power. I was glad to have Baltimore Healthcare Access as well as my family backing me.”

The work to improve the ACA continues in Maryland next week, DeMarco emphasized.

“We pledge to work to make the Affordable Care Act better. One of the ways we are doing that is through the Health Insurance Coverage Protection Commission,” DeMarco said.

The commission, created by the Maryland General Assembly, meets Aug.  1 in Annapolis to consider options to continue improving health coverage for Maryland residents.

“We’re going to be listening to experts who are monitoring what happens in Congress, what the Trump administration does and how we in Maryland need to protect ourselves. We’re going to build on the victories we have in Maryland,” Demarco said.

Lyndell Medley of Maryland Health Connection, the state’s official health care marketplace, said she will be working hard in the coming weeks to connect with uninsured Baltimore residents. “A lot of clients were hesitant to come in and enroll because they thought the Senate was going to take it (health coverage) away,” Medley said.

“It’s not going anywhere. We’re looking forward to an exciting enrollment period this year.”

Last modified: July 31, 2017