In the coming months, as negotiations continue on a path forward for the All-Payer Model and federal leaders debate changes to health care policy and funding, a new state commission will serve as an important forum for Maryland’s stakeholders to protect health care coverage.
The Maryland Health Insurance Coverage Protection Commission, created by the General Assembly this year – with amendments following MHA’s advocacy to ensure hospital representation and consideration of the All-Payer Model (the original bill would have focused on only the Affordable Care Act) – held its first meeting Tuesday. The session was largely informational, with several experts providing an overview of the ACA’s impact on Maryland and exploring the possible scenarios if federal or state policies and funding levels change.
MHA is your voice on this commission, which will be critically important when conversations about protecting coverage turn to the All-Payer Model and its future. This body will provide a public platform, beyond the Health Services Cost Review Commission, to underscore issues, challenges, and successes related to the All-Payer Model.
For now, we continue to meet with state officials on how to craft a model that maintains Maryland’s special status with Medicare, an arrangement that has served Marylanders well for 40 years. But these are complicated negotiations, and we have important unanswered questions as we work to ensure that the goals outlined in any agreement are achievable.
The next meeting of the coverage protection commission is September 27. By that date, we should have a clearer picture of the terms of the next All-Payer Model and be able to discuss publicly how those goals will affect Maryland’s hospitals and the people and communities we serve.
Because the commission’s charge is to deliver a report to the Governor and General Assembly by the end of the year so that bills needed to mitigate negative federal changes can be introduced during the 2018 legislative session, its proceedings will be critically important for hospitals. With so much at risk, making our field’s collective voice heard via this early policy development process is essential to a sound legislative strategy that can help build a long-term, sustainable health care model for Maryland while protecting the coverage gains the state has made under the ACA.