Affordable Care Act

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A spokeswoman for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says health care bills in Congress "do not work for Maryland."

Amelia Chasse, the Republican governor's spokeswoman, wrote in an email Thursday that the current health care system "needs to be fixed." But she says Congress "should go back to the drawing board in an open, transparent and bipartisan fashion to craft a bill that works for all Americans."

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware is seeking a rate increase of 33.6 percent for covering individuals under the Affordable Care Act.

State insurance regulators said Wednesday that the requested rate increase assumes that current cost-sharing subsidies and a federal mandate requiring people to have health insurance will not be in place next year.

Highmark's rate request comes after Aetna, which covers almost 12,000 Delawareans under the ACA, announced last month that it is pulling out of Delaware health insurance exchange.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Aetna, which covers almost 12,000 Delawareans under the Affordable Care Act, is pulling out of the state's health insurance exchange.

The company informed state insurance regulators Wednesday that it would not participate in Delaware's health insurance marketplace for 2018.

Officials said coverage for Aetna customers will last through the end of this year, but that anyone with a pre-existing condition for which they were being treated may be able to continue having that treatment covered.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia state lawmakers are set to return to the Capitol to consider Gov. Terry McAuliffe's vetoes and amendments to legislation they passed earlier this year.

Lawmakers will also consider the governor's tweaks to the state budget at the so-called "veto session" on Wednesday.

The governor, a Democrat, vetoed 40 pieces of legislation on hot-button social issues like guns, abortion and immigration. The Republicans who control the General Assembly do not have the super majorities required in both chambers to overturn a veto.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A measure to create a commission to monitor federal actions that could affect health care in Maryland has cleared the General Assembly.
 
The Senate voted 32-14 on Wednesday for the bill, sending it to Gov. Larry Hogan.
 
The measure forms a commission to monitor federal actions and provide recommendations to protect access to affordable health coverage. The commission would submit a report on its findings and recommendations at the end of each year.
 

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BEL AIR, Md. (AP) - Maryland's only congressional Republican is telling constituents that he supports efforts underway in Congress to reform the health care system.

Rep. Andy Harris, a physician who represents Maryland's Eastern Shore and parts of the greater Baltimore region, met Saturday with small groups of constituents during "office hours" in Bel Air.

Harris has not yet held a formal town hall meeting constituents since President Donald Trump took office, though on Friday he announced one scheduled for March 31.

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The GOP efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act has gotten underway in Washington. But, there are words of caution from Maryland officials. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush breaks down what the impact of the Republican plan might have on the Free State with Vincent DeMarco, president of Maryland Citizens Health Initiative, which has been critical of the GOP plan.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Leading Maryland Democrats are supporting legislation for funding Planned Parenthood because of concerns that the federal government will cut family planning funds.

House Speaker Michael Busch joined other lawmakers Wednesday to express support for continued family planning services in the state. Busch says the proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act in Washington could cut family planning services that help 25,000 women in the state.

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Some cancer patients and survivors showed up outside the Salisbury office of Representative Andy Harris (R-Md).

Their message: Any changes in the Affordable Care Act must maintain adequate and affordable coverage.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the group chanted, ”Keep us covered. Don’t cut our lifeline.”

Of special concern was keeping the provision that would not allow insurance companies to discriminate on the basis of a pre-existing condition.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland health care advocates are highlighting the need for a new state commission to monitor potential changes to the Affordable Care Act.
    
They are scheduled to gather Wednesday before a hearing on the Maryland Health Insurance Coverage Protection Act.
    
It is part of a package of bills that Democrats are backing out of concern for how policies supported by President Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress could hurt Maryland.
    

Don Rush

Around 100 people showed up for a town hall on Friday in Salisbury centering on the question of what will become of the Affordable Care Act under the new administration.

The organization Together We Vote Delmarva had invited Eastern Shore congressman Andy Harris to attend.

Michelle Schlehofer with Together We Vote Delmarva which put on the event said they had contacted Harris’ office numerous times asking that he attend.

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EASTON, Md. (AP) - The only Republican in Maryland's Congressional delegation says he will hold an in-person town hall to discuss Congress' plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.

First District Rep. Andy Harris' office said in a news release Thursday that the in-person town hall will be held on March 31, when it is expected a new plan will be available by the end of March.

Harris, who conducted a teleconference town hall last week, will hold two more, on Feb. 27 at 5:30 p.m. and Feb. 28 at 6 p.m.

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Congressman Scott Taylor faced a crowd of over 200 constituents 50 whom found themselves left outside the hall on the campus of the Eastern Shore Community College in Melfa.

The Virginia Republican took 22 questions with the audience sometimes booing, sometimes cheering.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that overall the meeting was civil unlike many of town hall faced by his Republican colleagues around the country.

Taylor said that encouraged engagement by citizens but felt disrupting a meeting was wrong.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Activists opposed to President Donald Trump are calling on Gov. Larry Hogan to take a stand against his policies.

Three women interrupted the Board of Public Works meeting Wednesday to ask why the Republican governor wasn't speaking out against Trump.

In video recorded by a Baltimore Sun reporter, Samantha Easton asked Hogan "to speak up against the current administration's agenda." She specifically noted concerns about repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

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BEL AIR, Md. (AP) - Constituents of Maryland's lone Republican in Congress took part in one of several town halls planned to provide information on the future of the Affordable Care Act.

About 180 people attended a town hall Tuesday night at Harford Community College. A spokeswoman for Citizens for Health Care says Rep. Andy Harris was invited to the event, but he did not attend.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Fearful of President Donald Trump's policies, the Maryland General Assembly has empowered the state's Democratic attorney general to sue the federal government without permission from the state's Republican governor.

The House of Delegates voted 89-50 along party lines on Wednesday for a joint resolution already approved by the Senate.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - After seeing disruptions at town hall meetings held by his fellow Republicans, Rep. Andy Harris says he's moving to virtual town halls.

The Cockeysville Republican said Tuesday during WBAL-AM's "The C4 Show" that he doesn't put stock in angry crowds at the meetings, blaming an organized group that opposes President Donald Trump and "wants to cause trouble."

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Fearful of President Donald Trump's policies, the Maryland General Assembly is poised to empower the state's Democratic attorney general to sue the federal government without permission from the state's Republican governor.

The House of Delegates is expected to make a final vote Wednesday on the joint resolution already approved by the Senate.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate is scheduled to vote on a resolution to empower the attorney general to sue the federal government without the governor's permission.

The Senate is expected to vote Friday on the resolution, which would clear the way for the Democratic attorney general to sue the federal government for policies with which it disagrees, including President Donald Trump's travel ban on citizens of seven Muslim-majority counties.

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Around 30 people showed up at the Bel Air office of Congressman Andy Harris yesterday afternoon worried about the future of the Affordable Care Act.

The Eastern Shore Republican supports the repeal of Obamacare and says he is favors replacing it.

The group led by the organization Together We Will-Harford County/Upper Chesapeake carried signs and shouting slogans including one suggesting that the congressman was “missing in action” on the issue.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Democratic lawmakers in Maryland are outlining initiatives to help the state respond to actions taken by President Donald Trump and a Republican-led Congress against health care reform and other potential federal actions that could hurt the state.

Democratic leadership was joined by Attorney General Brian Frosh to talk about the package of legislation Tuesday.

Democrats say Maryland is at risk of losing billions of dollars in federal aid over the next four years if health care reform is repealed.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates will be pushing legislation again this session to promote direct primary care agreements, in which patients pay a fee for unlimited primary care.

Del. Steven Landes outlined Republicans' health care priorities in a speech on the House floor Thursday.

Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed primary care legislation last year that supporters said was needed to provide legal clarity for them and their customers. It clarified that direct primary care agreements are not insurance and cannot be regulated as such.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democratic congressman from Maryland and member of the Congressional Black Caucus, will attend Donald Trump's inauguration in Washington, but "not in celebration."

The lawmaker says he made the decision to attend because the inauguration is "bigger than President-Elect Trump." Cummings added that "we have to guard our democracy."

Cummings also said it is important that some lawmakers attend the Jan. 20 event in Washington "who will be vigilant to ensure that the Trump Administration is held to the highest ethical standards."

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Hundreds of people gathered for a rally outside the Virginia Capitol to oppose Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

High-ranking Democrats including Sen. Tim Kaine, Gov. Terry McAuliffe and U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott and Donald McEachin spoke to the crowd Sunday in Richmond. The rally was one of many around the country in support of the federal health care law, which President-elect Donald Trump has promised to overturn and replace.

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With the promise by a new congress and President-elect Donald Trump to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act some fear many will be left without health insurance in Maryland. Maryland News Connection Veronica Carter prepared this report.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware's health care commission is getting an update on enrollment in the state's health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act.

Thursday's briefing comes as federal officials report that 5,875 Delawareans have signed up for coverage during the current open enrollment period, which began Nov. 1. That number includes new signups and renewals.

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Maryland's First Congressional District will see incumbent Republican Andy Harris seek a fourth term in this year's election after being swept into office during the Tea Party wave of 2010. His rival is Harford County Democrat Joe Werner who won a surprising victory over former Salisbury Mayor and now council member Jim Ireton. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush caught up with the congressman to talk about the issues and the possibility that Washington could once again see divided government.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Open enrollment is under way for Delawareans wanting to enroll in the state's health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act.

Delawareans are again facing steep price increases, with an average rate increase of 32.5 percent in the individual market for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware, which has the vast majority of the individual market share in Delaware. Aetna Life Insurance and Aetna Health Insurance Co. were approved for average rate increases of about 23 percent.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - An analysis for The Associated Press shows Maryland consumers next year will have more choices than consumers in many other states in health insurance markets created by President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

The analysis by Avalere Health finds Maryland among nine states that will have three or more participating insurers in its counties.

From 2014 to 2016, all of Maryland's counties and the city of Baltimore had three or more participating insurers. That will continue into 2017.

Virginia

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delawareans are again facing steep price increases for health insurance next year under the Affordable Care Act.

Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart has approved an average rate increase of 32.5 percent in the individual market for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware, which has the vast majority of the individual market share in Delaware. That follows an average premium increase of 22.4 percent for individual Highmark plans this year.

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