Weekly Message From MHA

Weekly Message From MHA

Maryland a Contrast to Federal Dysfunction

January 14, 2019 By: Bob Atlas

No matter your political leanings, it is obvious that Washington, D.C., is plagued by dysfunction and gridlock. The ongoing partial government shutdown, which began in December, is the third to have occurred in 2018 and, as of Saturday, is the longest in our nation’s history.

Maryland’s hospitals should be spared from the direct effects of the shutdown, largely because federal funding for the programs that make up the pillars of our health care system — Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act — is set through September.

However, the shutdown has real consequences for many people in our communities, who are going without pay. Maryland reported a spike in unemployment claims tied to the federal closure, and an anticipated delay in issuance of tax refunds announced by the IRS also could create further financial strain.

MHA’s main focus, of course, is with Maryland’s government. With the 90-day session of the Maryland General Assembly already underway, it is helpful to note the collaborative relationship among our partners at the state level — a clear departure from the current federal political climate.

That bipartisan spirit in Maryland led to the successful negotiation of the new Total Cost of Care Model, which took effect January 1. We expect it will continue as we work to ensure the model meets the needs of the communities we serve.

Your Maryland Hospital Association will uphold that spirit of collaboration in Annapolis as we look for our state-level partners to support our advocacy agenda, including the continued spenddown of the Medicaid assessment, an improved liability climate, modernization of certificate of need, and many more concerns.