Governor also announces creation of new Office of Health Care Reform; Lt. Governor Brown hosts event in Howard County to recognize progress for Maryland Health Exchange
Governor's Office News Release
ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 26, 2011) - Today, Governor Martin O'Malley announced appointees to a nine-member board that will oversee Maryland's Health Benefit Exchange. The Exchange will be a transparent online marketplace where Marylanders can compare rates, benefits and quality among health insurance plans to help them find one that best suits their needs. The framework of the Exchange, a measure required by the federal Affordable Care Act, was established through legislation signed into law by Governor O'Malley in April.
Appointees to the Board announced by the Governor today include Georges Benjamin, M.D., Executive Director of the American Public Health Association; Lisa Dubay, Ph.D. Urban Institute Senior Fellow; Darrell Gaskin, Ph.D., Associate Professor and a Health Economist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Jennifer Goldberg, J.D., LL.M., Assistant Director of Advocacy for Health Care at the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau; Enrique Martinez-Vidal, M.P.P., Vice President at AcademyHealth and Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's State Coverage Initiatives program; and Thomas Saquella, M.A., former President of the Maryland Retailers Association.
"With public and private innovation, Maryland has become a national leader in implementing health care reform to strengthen coverage, improve health, and support our competitiveness in the global economy," said Governor O'Malley. "I am confident that these individuals will help protect the health care priorities of our families and children."
Also today, Lieutenant Governor Anthony G. Brown joined Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary Josh Sharfstein, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, and other state and federal officials at Howard County General Hospital where he recognized the appointees to Maryland's Health Benefit Exchange Board and described Maryland's progress on implementing health care reform.
"Governor O'Malley has appointed six dedicated and highly-qualified individuals from the non-profit and business communities to serve on the board of Maryland's Health Benefit Exchange," said Lt. Governor Brown, Co-Chair of Maryland's Health Care Reform Coordinating Council. "The Exchange will provide Marylanders with a competitive marketplace to find affordable health insurance options that meet their needs, and the Board, along with the General Assembly and numerous stakeholders, will play a critical role in laying the groundwork and establishing the building blocks necessary for the Exchange to be ready and operational on January 1, 2014. I look forward to working with this impressive group as we continue our efforts to reduce costs, expand access, and improve the quality of health care for all Marylanders."
"Today's announcements are important steps forward for implementation of the Affordable Care Act," said DHMH Secretary Joshua M. Sharfstein, M.D. "I can't wait to get to work with the Exchange Board and develop a program that best serves Maryland families."
The remaining three board members are the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, the Commissioner of the Maryland Insurance Administration, and the Executive Director of the Maryland Health Care Commission. DHMH Secretary Sharfstein has been appointed to serve as the initial chair of the board. In the coming months, Maryland's Exchange Board will establish advisory committees, adopt procurement guidelines, conduct a search and select an Executive Director, and undertake a series of studies required by its enabling legislation signed in to law by the Governor last month.
The State is receiving funding from the federal government to support implementation of the Exchange. To date, Maryland has received $7.2 million from the federal Department of Health and Human Services to plan and build the Exchange, including a $6.2 million innovator grant given to six states leading the way on reform implementation. Maryland intends to apply by the end of June for funding under the Level I Establishment grant program, which could provide access to additional millions of implementation dollars.
Governor O'Malley today also signed two Executive Orders to establish the Governor's Office of Health Care Reform (OHCR), extend and expand the Health Care Reform Coordinating Council (HCRCC), and continue Maryland's efforts to address the quality and cost of healthcare by enhancing the role of the Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council (HQCC) to include a focus on health disparities and strategies for collecting and disseminating patient-centered outcomes.
In addition, Governor O'Malley announced the appointment of Carolyn Quattrocki as Executive Director of the Office of Health Care Reform. Ms. Quattrocki has served the Governor for the past 5 years in his legislative office as a Deputy Legislative Officer. Ms. Quattrocki formerly served as a Special Assistant to Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., where she worked on a range of health, child welfare, criminal justice and other policy issues. Ms. Quattrocki has a law degree from Yale University and a B.A. from Northwestern University.
"I am pleased to announce that Carolyn will lead the Office of Health Care Reform," said Governor O'Malley. "With her leadership and dedication, we can ensure that Maryland remains a leader in implementing federal reform and that we continue to provide our families and children with access to the quality care they deserve."
Creating the OHCR was one of sixteen recommendations made by the HCRCC in its final report released in January. The OHCR will have primary responsibility for coordinating health care reform across State agencies, commissions and boards, including the Health Benefit Exchange, to ensure reform's effective implementation in Maryland. The Office will also be responsible for staffing the HCRCC, creating a statewide outreach and education strategy on health care reform, and providing updates and briefings on the status of implementation.
As Co-Chair of the Maryland Health Care Reform Coordinating Council and Maryland's Health Quality and Cost Council, Lt. Governor Brown leads the O'Malley-Brown Administration's health care portfolio. Under the leadership of Governor O'Malley and Lt. Governor Brown, Maryland has implemented reforms that have already expanded health coverage to over 260,000 Marylanders. This year, the Governor signed into law legislation championed by Lt. Governor Brown to establish a framework for Maryland's health benefit exchange. According to research by the independent Hilltop Institute, implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will save Maryland an estimated $850 million and cut the number of Marylanders without health insurance in half by 2020.