BALTIMORE, Md. (July 11, 2011) - Today, Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown presided over the ninth meeting of the Maryland Health Care Reform Coordinating Council (HCRCC) in Annapolis. The Council, co-chaired by Lt. Governor Brown and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, met for the first time since the release of their final report and recommendations on January 1, 2011 and discussed the progress being made to implement the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Maryland.
Under the leadership of Governor Martin O'Malley and Lt. Governor Brown, Maryland has made great strides this year in implementing health care reform, including establishing Maryland's health benefit exchange, creating the Governor's Office of Health Care Reform, and enacting federal consumer protections on the state level. An analysis done by the independent Hilltop Institute at the University of Maryland Baltimore County found that Maryland can save over $850 million and cut the number of uninsured in half by 2020 through effective implementation of the ACA.
"Governor O'Malley and I are committed to maximizing federal health care reform in Maryland. We have made real progress in the last six months in our efforts to lower costs, expand access and improve the quality of care for all Marylanders, but our work is just beginning," said Lt. Governor Brown. "Through our work on the Reform Coordinating Council and other efforts, we will continue bringing people together to build consensus on how we can most effectively implement reform."
"Today's meeting illustrates how meaningful reform depends on successful implementation across state agencies," said DHMH Secretary Joshua M. Sharfstein, M.D. "I look forward to continuing the work of the Council to advance the health of the citizens of Maryland."
The Health Care Reform Coordinating Council was created by Governor Martin O'Malley through Executive Order in March 2010 to advise the administration on policies and procedures to implement the recent federal health care reform legislation as efficiently and effectively as possible. As states assume the critical role of implementing multiple aspects of health care reform, the Council will make policy recommendations and offer implementation strategies to keep Maryland among the leading states in expanding quality, affordable health care while reducing waste and controlling costs.
Lt. Governor Brown leads the O'Malley-Brown Administration's efforts to reduce costs, expand access, and improve the quality of care for all Marylanders. Under the O'Malley-Brown Administration, Maryland has implemented reforms that have expanded health coverage to over 280,000 Marylanders and put the State in position to maximize the federal Affordable Care Act.
In addition, Lt. Governor Brown recently announced that he will be leading a new effort to address health disparities in Maryland. As co-chair of the Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council (HQCC), Lt. Governor Brown will oversee a new health disparities workgroup within the HQCC. Lt. Governor Brown will also be working with local communities to identify innovative approaches and effective efforts for addressing disparities that could be expanded or replicated in other areas of the state.