Bipartisanship saved Md.'s Obamacare exchange for now; here's what we need to do next

Monday the Maryland Insurance Administration held what must count as a remarkable hearing. Officials heard evidence about whether the two carriers on Maryland’s Affordable Care Act exchange should be allowed to lower their rates for 2019. Just months after CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield and Kaiser Permanente asked for rate increases of 30 percent or more, the insurers say the rates for their health maintenance organizations should instead be reduced by 22.3 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively. This is what happens when members of both parties actually try to solve the problems in our health care system rather than exacerbating them for political gain. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Maryland, feds must assist opioid treatment providers

More frontline resources are needed to combat the opioid crisis. Even in a deeply divided political climate, there is bipartisan support for finding ways to curb an epidemic whose reach isn't limited by geography, income or race. Demand for substance abuse treatment is putting a strain on providers in Anne Arundel County. During a meeting with Sen. Chris Van Hollen at Maryland House Detox Friday in Linthicum, Delphi Behavioral Health Group officials lobbied for larger Medicaid reimbursement rates. The center's patients receive medical detoxification services over a five-to-seven day period without the intensive inpatient treatment traditional centers provide over a month or more. A hurdle, Delphi officials say, are state Medicaid reimbursement rates. (Capital)

Read Full Article

Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh: City is good for immigrants, and vice versa

The bipartisan group, New American Economy (NAE), which makes the economic case for smart and effective immigration policies, just released its inaugural NAE Cities Index. NAE analyzed the 100 largest U.S. cities and assigned each a score, based on several criteria related to how well they are integrating newcomers. Those criteria include the strength of cities’ immigrant integration policies and a range of socioeconomic outcomes for each city’s immigrants, such as homeownership rates, entrepreneurship rates and more. Baltimore ranked among the top cities in the country for immigrant integration. The results of the index are a credit to Baltimore’s vision of a welcoming, inclusive and more prosperous city. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

J.H. Snider: Prince George's County pension-spiking is ripping off Maryland taxpayers

On Sept. 17, 20 weeks after his announced resignation, Maryland’s highest paid public-school employee ended his tenure as CEO of the Prince George’s County Public Schools. On July 12, PGCPS announced Kevin Maxwell's severance package as $790,000, a sum that many considered excessive. The teachers’ union president attacked it as “appalling.” But this sum grossly understates the actual cost of Maxwell’s post-employment compensation. Most notably, it fails to include the increased value of his Maryland state pension. When that compensation is factored in, the cost of his severance package doubles to approximately $1.6 million. (Examiner)

Read Full Article

We've seen crisis teams up close, and they're worth every penny

County Executive Steve Schuh is to be applauded for his request to shift funding within the current county budget to pay for two new Mental Health Agency Mobile Crisis Response Teams. We’ve seen these teams up close, and we can attest wholeheartedly that expanding the teams is the right thing to do. County mobile crisis teams respond to police incidents where they connect victims and appropriate services after trauma or other issues. This could mean they help someone with an opioid addiction seek treatment or connect victims of violence to counselors. (Capital)

Read Full Article

September 17 // Barry Rascovar: Will Hogan Have Coattails?

Barring a “blue wave,” anti-Trump voter surge of historic proportions, Larry Hogan is primed to win a second four-year term as Maryland governor on Nov. 5. If that comes about, will Hogan have coattails? Four years ago, Hogan’s popularity — or perhaps the unpopularity of Democratic nominee Anthony Brown — helped carry a few fellow Republicans across the finish line in down-ballot races. This time, Hogan isn’t the brand-new outsider challenging the tired status quo. He’s on the inside now, but he’s fortunate that economic times have turned bright in Maryland: He gets to claim part-credit. (politicalmaryland)

Read Full Article

Steve Herling: PJM reaffirms Transource plan to supply low-cost, reliable electricity

Public interest has grown recently in the proposed Transource electric transmission project designed to improve the efficient flow of low-cost electricity across the border of Maryland and Pennsylvania. As deliberations occur at the state level, it is important for the public to understand the purpose of the project and the role of our company, PJM Interconnection, in its planning. (York Dispatch)

Read Full Article

Will Baltimore County pay for better schools?

Conventional wisdom in Baltimore County is that you don’t win public office by promising to raise taxes, so it’s not too surprising that the Democratic and Republican candidates running for county executive this year aren’t going there even as they pledge to make county schools better. In the case of Johnny Olszewski Jr., the Democrat and former two-term delegate, it’s an especially glaring contradiction given the amount of investment in public education he’s endorsed, from $2 billion in school construction to smaller class sizes and a 20 percent increase in teacher pay. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article