health care

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland lawmakers are putting the finishing touches on a legislative session that has been full of measures aimed at countering President Donald Trump and the GOP-led Congress.

The Democrat-led legislature, which adjourns at midnight Monday, has passed legislation aimed at protecting health care from cuts in Washington.

It also has empowered the attorney general to sue the federal government without the governor's permission. And the attorney general will get an extra $1 million a year in future budgets to help pay expenses to do that.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate has sent its bill on requiring paid sick leave over to the House of Delegates.

The Senate voted 29-18 for the measure. That's a crucial vote, because 29 are how many votes the Senate would need to override a veto from Gov. Larry Hogan, who opposes the bill.

The measure as approved by the Senate doesn't go quite as far as the House initially intended.

For one thing, it would require five paid sick days instead of seven for Maryland businesses with 15 or more employees.

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It was a hostile crowd that met Representative Andy Harris as he held his first in-person town hall Saturday on the Eastern Shore this congressional session on the campus of Chesapeake College.

The Eastern Shore Republican was stopped a number of times in his efforts to explain his opposition to the Affordable Care and his claim that Medicaid outcomes were the same as for the uninsured.

Instead he called or high risk pools for people with high medical costs and turning more control of Medicaid over to the states.

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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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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Four of Maryland's U.S. House members are criticizing Republican Gov. Larry Hogan for not speaking out against the GOP health care bill in Washington.

Reps. Steny Hoyer, Elijah Cummings, John Sarbanes and Jamie Raskin gathered in front of the governor's residence on Monday to criticize Hogan for not joining four GOP governors who've made their own proposal about how to overhaul Medicaid for low-income people.

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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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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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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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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Gov. John Carney is taking some time away from Delaware to make the rounds in the nation's capital.

Carney was scheduled to join other governors from around the country and meet with President Donald Trump on Monday as part of the National Governors Association Winter Meeting.

After meeting with Trump, Carney planned to attend a briefing with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, followed by separate health care briefings with congressional Republicans and congressional Democrats.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the Republican leaders in the General Assembly are both set to claim victory when the 2017 session ends this week.

When the session concludes on Friday or Saturday, both are likely to tout successes they've had passing bills dealing with mental health care, the opioid crises, and other issues.

But both sides have had their fair share of defeats, too, as numerous priorities they touted before session began died unheralded deaths.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Outgoing Gov. Jack Markell is proposing more than $212 million in tax increases to balance a proposed budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.
    
The two-term Democrat on Thursday also proposed $56 million in agency and program cuts in his $4.1 billion spending plan, which surely will be revised by incoming Gov. John Carney. Markell also wants to eliminate a property tax credit for senior citizens and force state employees to pay more for their health care, two moves that would save taxpayers about $50 million.
    

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Maryland regulators say Evergreen Health Cooperative Inc. won't be issuing or renewing individual health benefit policies.

The Maryland Insurance Administration announced Thursday individual plans will not be available on the Maryland Health Connection for the 2017 plan year.

Commissioner Al Redmer says the administration worked for months on a solution, but ran out of time to meet Jan. 1 effective dates. Evergreen is working to move from a non-profit to a for-profit company.

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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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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia state lawmakers are forming a new panel to monitor changes in federal health care policy under President-elect Donald Trump.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that House Appropriations Chairman S. Chris Jones and Senate Finance Co-Chairman Emmett W. Hanger Jr. are creating the panel to help lawmakers prepare for the changes to, or the repeal of, the Affordable Care Act.

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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.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Republican lawmakers have announced a new workgroup focused on loosening government oversight of new or expanded health care facilities in Virginia.

House Speaker William J. Howell and Senate President Pro-Tem Stephen D. Newman said Thursday they had created a new workgroup and were rededicating themselves to changing the state's certificate of need law.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - A federal grant is bringing long-distance care to children with social, emotional and behavioral problems in three rural Maryland counties.

U.S. senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski announced $300,000 in funding Monday from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Baltimore-based Kennedy Krieger Institute.

The Maryland senators say in a statement that the institute will partner with hospitals in Garrett and Worcester counties, and with school-based health centers in Dorchester County, to screen patients and deliver specialized care.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Democrats who control Maryland's legislature are hoping Republican Gov. Larry Hogan approves spending $80 million that lawmakers have fenced off for education, health care and public safety. But a Hogan spokesman says the governor hasn't decided yet due to economic uncertainties.

The money could be released at the start of the new fiscal year Friday.

Del. Maggie McIntosh says lawmakers steered the money into areas they believed Hogan would be inclined to support to avoid last year's dispute over $68 million for education that Hogan declined.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - A rift between a medical center and a health care company threatens to suspend coverage for thousands of patients.

The Wilmington News Journal  reports that the current contract between Bayhealth Medical Center and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware to reimburse the hospital for its care of the insurer's customers expires May 15.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate has approved a bill to make funding for community health providers more stable to provide better access to services for people suffering from mental health and substance abuse disorders.

The Senate voted 35-9 on Monday for a measure known as the "Keep the Door Open Act." It now goes to the House.

The measure indexes annual funding in the state budget to account for inflation. Advocates say the legislation is needed to attract and retain qualified licensed professionals and direct care workers.

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REISTERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - Leaders in the faith community are forming a new network to help people get health care in their communities.

State and local leaders are scheduled to join them on Monday to launch the Maryland Faith Community Health Network.

It's a partnership between the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative, LifeBridge Health and dozens of local houses of faith to connect hospital navigators and faith-based liaisons. They will coordinate community resources to support people who need medical care.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Terry McAuliffe says nearly 421,900 Virginia residents have signed up for health coverage through the HealthCare.gov marketplace.

The Democratic governor said total enrollment on the marketplace in Virginia this year exceeded the state's expectations. The figures reflect the number of people who signed up during the latest open enrollment period, which ended Jan. 31.

McAuliffe said the strong enrollment numbers shows that Virginians "recognize the value of high-quality health care."

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Governor Jack Markell gave is last state of the state address yesterday hailing the changes that have taken place as Delaware emerges from the Great Recession.

The Delaware Democrat said the state must still evolve calling for higher pay for teachers and to meet the changing economy he wanted to expand job training programs.

In addition, he said it was time to revamping health care coverage for state employees.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia lawmakers are set to head back to Capitol for start of the 2016 legislative session.

The session is scheduled to start Wednesday. It marks the mid-point of Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe's term-limited time in office. Both chambers of the General Assembly are controlled by Republicans, giving the governor little chance of advancing an aggressive agenda. Likewise, the governor's veto pen gives him to ability to keep in check any GOP-led efforts he disagrees with.

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - A reporting deadline is looming for a panel looking at Delaware government expenditures with an eye toward more efficient use of state taxpayer money.

The expenditure review committee met Monday to discuss possible recommendations for state lawmakers and budget officials to consider, and the outlines of a final report to be submitted by the end of the month.

The committee has spent the past few weeks looking at a variety of state agencies and programs, including the prison and education systems.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - State regulators have approved a plan that's expected to create about 375 hospital jobs for residents of impoverished areas in Baltimore and across Maryland.

State regulators reached a last-minute agreement on Wednesday requiring participating hospitals to pay a share of the cost of the program and the rest to come from hospital rate increases. The Health Services Cost Review Commission has agreed to make up to $10 million available for the program in fiscal 2017.

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There’s a new trend in Delaware for physicians to charge a straight yearly membership fee to cover certain basic health care like physicals and between two and four office visits.

In essence for a cost of around $75 a month for adult patients skip the normal insurance co-pays and paperwork.

For children under 18 the cost is up to $360 a year.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that Dr. Christina Bovelsky in Middletown has opened such a unique practice.

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In the first year of the Affordable Care Act Maryland has dramatically slashed the number of children not covered by health insurance.

Maryland News Connection reporter Andrea Sears prepared this report.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Federal officials say the cost of a benchmark plan on the health care exchange will go up 4 percent for Virginia residents.

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A new pediatric and senior care facility is coming to Milford.

This week Bayhealth said it had cut a deal with Nemour Children Health System in Wilmington for the facility.

WBOC reports that the goal of the partnership was to make their campus more than just a hospital.

Spread out over 165 acres services will range from outpatient care and specialty physicians to diagnostic testing.

The site is located at the intersection of Wilkins Road and Cedar Creek Road near Route One.

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