health care

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland officials say enrollments in the state's health insurance exchange significantly out-paced last year's tally after the first week.

The Baltimore Sun reports that those buying policies on the exchange for the first time are up about 15 percent, compared to this time last year. Officials say total enrollments through marylandhealthconnection.gov are double the number at this time last year, at 10,420.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - This week's groundswell of political change in Virginia has improved the odds of Medicaid expansion becoming law there. The long-stalled liberal priority gained new life after Democrats nearly wiped out Republicans' overwhelming majority in the House of Delegates.

It had repeatedly failed when Republicans controlled two-thirds of the chamber.

Joe biden, us.gov

Former Vice President Joe Biden told a gathering yesterday that a University of Delaware initiative could be a model for creating healthier and more equitable communities.

He gave his remarks the Vision Coalition of Delaware’s 10th Annual Conference which is focusing on improving partnerships in health and education.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the coalition is a public-private partnership.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP)- Both major party candidates in Virginia's closely watched race for governor are promising to improve the state's health care system.

But Republican Ed Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam differ sharply on how to curb costs and increase care.

Their biggest difference is on Medicaid expansion.

Northam wants to expand the health care program for the poor to cover more low-income Virginians, with the federal government picking up most of the cost.

Gillespie opposes Medicaid expansion, saying its long-term price tag will be unsustainable.

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Virginia's largest health insurer will restrict where customers can get CT scans and MRIs in non-emergency situations.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that the change will occur for people insured by Anthem in March.

Beneficiaries will have to seek imaging services at free-standing facilities instead of hospital-based ones.  The policy change does not include X-rays or mammograms.

Virginia Anthem spokesman Scott Golden said the move will save up to hundreds of dollars per scan and help keep premiums affordable.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delawareans will pay 25 percent more next year than they did this year for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

State insurance commissioner Trinidad Navarro announced Thursday that he had approved the latest double-digit increase for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, which will be the only insurer providing ACA coverage in Delaware.

Highmark sought a rate increase of 33.6 percent earlier this year after Aetna, which covers almost 12,000 Delawareans under the ACA, announced that it is pulling out of Delaware health insurance exchange.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's governor says a revived Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act won't work for Maryland.

Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, said Tuesday the Graham-Cassidy health care bill would "cost our state over $2 billion annually while directly jeopardizing the health care of our citizens."

The effort to repeal the health care law in Washington has taken on new life after it seemed all but dead earlier this summer.

Don Rush

Maryland Congressman Andy Harris said last night that he supports the Cassidy-Graham bill that would essentially repeal the Affordable Care Act and rely upon block grants to the states.

During an appearance on the campus of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore the incumbent Republican said he believed the states were the best place for shaping health policy.

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Senator Tom Carper denounced the decision by his Republican colleagues to move ahead with consideration of a measure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

In a written statement the Delaware Democrat said he had never seen anything like the push to approve such a wide ranging measure.

Democrats note that the Senate is moving forward without the normal committee hearings to take testimony on the impact of such legislation.

Carper complained that it was not clear what was being forced to consider.

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OXON HILL, Md. (AP) - Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the wife of Rep. Elijah Cummings, says she is "strongly considering" running for governor of Maryland.

Rockeymoore Cummings, a Democrat, told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday that the health care debate in Washington has shown that Republicans in the nation's capital are not considering the needs of women, children and minorities.

She says more decisions about important issues like health care will fall to state leaders, where governors will have a lot of say in who gets needed services.

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