Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley introduced the state’s final report for implementing federal health care reform at Baltimore’s Coppin State University Jan. 10, part of a series of public meetings on state issues.

The report outlines 16 recommendations including the creation of an Office of Health Reform and legislation establishing the structure of Maryland’s health insurance exchange.

The federal health care reform measures passed last year will save Maryland $829 million over 10 years and cut the number of uninsured state residents by half, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown said. The state has ensured health coverage for nearly 243,000 residents, including more than 115,000 children, O’Malley said.

The announcements came as O’Malley convened the third of five planned public forums, meetings intended to shape the agenda for his second term as the state’s executive. The event drew nearly roughly 400 health professionals and community leaders to propose legislation and develop strategies around the day’s topics of children and health stabilization.

Following opening remarks from Brown, attendees took part in workgroups and breakout sessions centered around ending childhood hunger, health technology, substance abuse, infant mortality, and the prevention of HIV and lead poisoning.

The day’s activities were culminated by session reports and an open discussion about improving health care opportunities for Marylanders. Solutions discussed included streamlining the health application process, offsetting administrative costs for health care, promoting primary preventative services and engaging in more community outreach.

“We are all here today because we understand that we are in a fight for our children’s future,” O’Malley said during his closing comments. “It’s a fight to turn the new economy into more opportunity for all.”

Other forums held throughout the state have focused on jobs and the economy, education, sustainability, public safety and security.

 

Shernay Williams

Special to the AFRO