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Maryland says health reform law will save state $800 million

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 9, 2010

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Subsidized coverage expansions and other provisions in the national health reform law will save Maryland $829 million through fiscal year 2020 compared with pre-reform spending projections, according to a new state report.

State savings will peak at $875 million in 2019. In 2020 and beyond, the state will spend more on health care than it would have otherwise, said the report by the Health Care Reform Coordinating Council, which was released on July 26. The panel was created by Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley to help the state implement the health reform law.

Much of the savings will come from a decrease in the need for state spending on local safety-net programs such as the Maryland Children's Health Insurance Program and Maryland's high-risk insurance pool, the council concluded. However, the state will spend more on Medicaid, especially after 2019, and on state employees' and retirees' health insurance.

The Medicaid expansion and coverage offered in health insurance exchanges are expected to reduce by half the state's percentage of uninsured, from 14% in 2010 to 6.7% in 2017. More than 700,000 Marylanders are uninsured.

"As the nation turns its attention from the debate over reform to its implementation, states like Maryland look to be leaders," said Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who is co-chairing the council with Maryland Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary John M. Colmers.

The council's report is available online (link).

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2010/08/09/gvbf0809.htm.

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