January 23, 2008

1/23/08 Update from HealthCareMaryland.org

HealthCareMaryland.orgHealth CareMaryland.org is working with our friends and allies--other organizations, elected officials, and concerned individuals--to bring high-quality universal health care to Maryland in 2008. We're planning town halls, summits, conferences, and organizing legislative efforts. Health Care Maryland.org is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization which promotes research, public education and advocacy to guarantee universal high-quality health care for all Maryland residents.
Digging In the Right Place
Washington state Sen. Karen Keiser (D), chairwoman of her legislature's powerful health committee, this week introduced the nation's most far-reaching universal health care proposal
There's a memorable moment in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" when Indiana Jones sees a rival's archaeological excavation and realizes the buried treasure is somewhere else. "They're digging in the wrong place!" he exclaims. The line could explain why our national elections leave us feeling empty. By expecting so much so fast from Washington D.C., we are digging for "change" in the wrong place.
As Recession Looms, Another SCHIP Veto
Tomorrow, the conservative minority in the House is expected to sustain President Bush's third veto of expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
SCHIP has already successfully provided health coverage to six million kids, but nine million more remained uninsured. The bipartisan compromise bill would extended coverage to four million more kids, and even that was too compassionate for Bush and his fellow conservatives.
Democratic Presidential Candidates Agree on Health Care Model
The contenders envision private insurance continuing, but they see a government-run plan as a competitive option.
WASHINGTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards have been sniping at each other for months over healthcare, but there's one thing the top Democratic presidential candidates agree on: Americans of all ages should have the choice of buying a government-run plan modeled on Medicare.
The idea, which would set up a competition between a new government plan and private insurance programs, has been overshadowed by the political horse race. But it's one of the most far-reaching and controversial proposals for making health insurance more affordable and more widely available.
St. Louis-Based Health Initiative Wins National Award
...for Improving the Health of Special Needs Babies
Nurses for Newborns Foundation “Bridge to the Future” program selected as 2008 Monroe E. Trout Premier Cares Award winner
PHOENIX--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Nurses for Newborns Foundation (NFNF) of St. Louis has been honored by the Premier healthcare alliance with the 16th Annual Monroe E. Trout Premier Cares Award for its Bridge to the Future program, which works to improve the health of special needs babies. NFNF last night received the Cares Award and $70,000 for the work it has done to prevent infant mortality, child abuse and neglect through in-home nursing visits.
Maryland County Plan To Provide Coordinated Care for Uninsured Delayed by Three Months
The launch of a Howard County, Md., health access program has been delayed for three months to Oct. 1 because legislation is needed to exempt the program from state insurance regulations, the Baltimore Sun reports (Carson, Baltimore Sun, 1/18). The Healthy Howard program aims to provide affordable and coordinated health care to uninsured residents who are not eligible for state and federal programs. To be eligible for the county's program, individuals must have lived in the county for at least one year and must have been uninsured for a year (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 10/18/07).
Washington State Voters may prescribe health care fix
Other states such as Maryland proposed so-called "Wal-Mart bills" but had the efforts blocked by the courts. Experts say federal law would have to be changed to allow states to force employers to provide health coverage.
Washington voters could be the first in the nation to directly decide what kind of health insurance system their state will have.
Labor groups -- with strong support from hospitals and physicians and some support from small business owners -- are pushing a multistep proposal in the current legislative session that would require town-hall style meetings around the state to find out what people want.
The Legislature would set up a nine-member citizens work group, appointed by the governor, that would travel the state collecting public input on what constitutes quality, affordable health care. The work group would hire an expert in health economics to evaluate up to five proposals and report back to the Legislature in 2009 with recommendations and suggestions.
Groups Propose Long-Term Care Overhaul
Three long-term care organizations have proposed a restructuring of the current long-term and post-acute care systems that would, they said, encourage individuals to save for their long-term care needs and ease the financial pressure of long-term care expenditures on federal and state budgets. “The long-term care system, if you want to call it that, is pretty messed up,” said Bruce Yarwood, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association, adding that the current system is extremely fragmented.

Free State Politics: Senate President Pledges Support for Progressive Principles

Senate President Pledges Support for Progressive Principles
by Mike Hersh Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 11:24 AM EST

Maryland Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller. Jr. attended a
bloggers' meeting organized by Senator Rich Madaleno (District 18 ) in
Annapolis January 21 to discuss the upcoming session, the recent special
session, and Maryland politics. The two-hour gathering in the James
Senate Office Building also featured a fact-filled overview of state
finances by Sen. Madaleno, supported by District 20 Senator Jamie Raskin
and House of Delegates Majority Leader Kumar Barve (District 17).

President Miller recounted the accomplishments achieved during the
special session: extending health care to 100,000 Maryland residents,
increased funding for education and poverty programs, and creating new
opportunities in the state. In his customarily outspoken style, Sen.
Miller laid out the road map he believes the state will follow during
the 2008 session and onward--warning that many in the room "will not
like" all of it, but promising Governor Martin O'Malley will continue to
lead Maryland based on "progressive principles." [continued: