Md. congressmen urge Hogan to speak out on Affordable Care Act
By Ovetta Wiggins,
U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md) said he is beyond asking Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to push fellow Republicans in Congress and the White House to preserve the Affordable Care Act, or to publicly discuss the impact a repeal would have on the state.
Instead, he came to Annapolis on Monday, just days before the House is expected vote on an Obamacare replacement, to beg the governor to speak out.
Cummings joined House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) and U.S. Reps. John Sarbanes and Jamie B. Raskin at a news conference in front of the State House, calling on Hogan to join a growing chorus of Republican governors who have raised serious concerns about legislation being debated on Capitol Hill.
“We are talking about saving people’s lives,” Cummings said.
Republican governors in Massachusetts, Ohio, Arkansas and Michigan have already said that rolling back a Medicaid expansion and other changes included in the bill would negatively impact their states. The Democratic congressmen from Maryland said their governor, too, should send a strong message to Congress about the “devastation” the bill would have on Maryland.
“This is a moment of emergency for us,” Raskin said.
Hoyer said nearly 300,000 state residents would become uninsured under the Republican bill, including 60,000 children, and more than 50,000 health care jobs could be lost. Losing expanded Medicaid could cost the state $1.4 billion, he said.
The governor has repeatedly ignored demands that he speak publicly about the impact President Trump’s policies could have on Maryland, and Monday was no different.
A spokeswoman for Hogan dismissed the news conference as “grandstanding” and said Hogan would issue no public statement on federal healthcare law to Trump, the Republican majority in Congress or anyone else.
“Instead of wasting time playing politics and holding press conferences in Annapolis, these congressmen should be in Washington doing their jobs,” Amelia Chasse said in a statement. “The governor and the administration are fighting to ensure that Maryland’s priorities are protected under any federal health care plan — it’s time for our federal representatives to do the same.”
Chasse said the congressmen appeared to be “disregarding the governor’s direct appeal to them” after they met about health care in January “to work in a bipartisan manner to come up with responsible solutions for Maryland.”
Sarbanes said the group had not heard from Hogan since that meeting, and came to Annapolis in hopes of getting him to speak before a vote expected Thursday on the House floor.
“There is still time for the governor to make a difference,” Sarbanes said. “This isn’t grandstanding. This is a part of governing.”