From the New Harford Democratic Club:
Minutes of the New Harford Democratic Club
Wednesday, October 4, 2017, at the Aberdeen Holiday Inn Express
President Steve Johnson opened the meeting at 7:05 pm
Johnson led those present in a pledge to the flag.
Those present were asked to stand and identify themselves
Treasurer George Harrison submitted the financial report. Johnson asked for and received unanimous approval.
He asked for a motion to approve the minutes from the September meeting. Approved unanimously
He asked for reports for any other clubs but none was present.
Johnson thanked everyone for attending and adjourned the meeting at 8:06 p.m.
Johnson noted that the club is preparing a fund raiser later in the fall. He said the club will be represented at the Darlington Apple Festival.
Voter Registration: Art Helton noted there would be sign up efforts at the Democratic booth at the Darlington Apple Festival. Johnson noted that volunteers were needed to man the booth and asked if anyone would be available.
Fund Raising: Johnson said the club was planning a fundraiser later in the year.
Issues and Legislation: George Harrison said the zoning and land use legislation was now before the county council and probably will be passed with little change.
Website: Jack Barham reported that the website receives about 3900 visits a month. The Facebook page gets about 80 to 300 hits a day.
Johnson introduced Susan Schlottman representing Maryland’s Health Care For All, a non-profit organized to promote the idea that all citizens should have quality, affordable health care. Since joining the organization in 2006 she has raised over $2.5 million to promote the efforts of MHCA.
She spoke about the Affordable Care Act and its positive effect on Maryland’s citizens. She said her organization aims to maintain the programs available in the ACA. She said the ACA “has been an incredible success in Maryland, as well in other states that embraced the plan. The greatest successes have been in rural areas where health care has in the past been less available.
She said the uninsured rate in Maryland has been cut in half with biggest improvements on the Eastern shore, Baltimore City and Western Maryland. She said 745,000 Marylanders lacked health insurance prior to the AFC and today about 400,000 are covered through the program. Young adult enrollments made up 30l2% of all private plan enrollments through the Maryland Health Exchange, ranking 5th among all states in the nation.
She said there was concern that that Congress will fail to continue funding the CHIP program which deals with uninsured children in partnerships with the states. She said Maryland will continue funding the program for the time being, but that Congress must act to maintain the program.
A big concern is what Maryland will do if the Federal Government actually cuts back the ACA at the Federal level. She said Health Care for All is working with state legislators on plans to deal with such possibility by having Maryland do some of the things that the Federal government handles under the ACA. She said this is what Massachusetts has done and it has been successful.
She said the greatest single driver of higher health care costs is prescription drugs. A proposal was put before the legislature to combat price gouging by drug companies. It was passed by the legislature but it wasn’t signed by Governor Hogan. It became law but without the governor’s support. It was challenged in court but that challenge was rejected by the courts and it went into effect Oct. 1.
In the upcoming session there will efforts to create a health care cost commission that would provide guidelines for various medical procedures involving extraordinarily high drug treatments.
Johnson thanked Ms Schlottman for her presentation.
Johnson then opened the floor for any candidates for public office who wished to make a presentation. Carlos Taylor, candidate for State’s Attorney, Allison Galbreath, candidate for the First Congressional District and Larry Del Prete, candidate for the Democratic State Central Committee, discussed their candidacies.
Johnson thanked everyone for coming and adjourned the meeting at 8:12 pm.
Submitted by George Harrison, Acting Secretary.