An overview of MACo’s advocacy on health and human services legislation in the 2019 General Assembly.
Each county in Maryland has a local health department that provides essential public health services to residents. They are also county agencies provide human or citizen services for children, families, and persons with special needs. MACo advocates actively for policies that continue to confront the opioid crisis and to support county health and social services programs.
Follow links for more coverage on Conduit Street and MACo’s Legislative Database.
Reviving state funding for local health departments was a 2019 Legislative Priority for MACo. MACo supported the restoration of critical state funding to local health departments, which is needed to support essential public health services and to combat well-documented public health crises in Maryland’s counties. Although the bill did not move forward this session, MACo will continue to stand for the restored state funding of local departments.
MACo support legislation to boost State capital grant program funding for behavioral health and developmental disability facilities. This bill will increase the portion of state funds a county is eligible to receive in the existing grant program. This legislation passed both chambers and will be sent to the Governor for his signature.
MACo pushed for legislation to create a grant program for community dental clinics. This program will support counties and their community-based partners’ efforts to provide free and low-cost dental care to residents. Poor dental care has been linked to several health conditions—including heart disease, premature and low birth weights, and diabetes. This legislation passed both chambers and will be sent to the Governor for his signature.
Prescription Drugs and the Opioid Epidemic
MACo supported legislation to strengthen provisions within Maryland’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. This legislation seeks to ensure important data is not overlooked, improving the program’s ability to identify, deter, and report prescription drug abuse. This legislation passed both chambers and will be sent to the Governor for his signature.
MACo stood behind legislation to create a new state-level Prescription Drug Affordability Board. The original legislation would have empowered the Board to address and safeguard against rising prescription drug prices by setting upper payment limits. Following amendments, the Board will study the area of drug pricing — including whether it is in the state’s best interest to set upper payment limits — and recommend avenues for improving drug affordability. The amended legislation passed both chambers and will be sent to the Governor for his signature.
MACo showed support for legislation to guarantee profits of the State’s opioid litigation are used to confront the opioid epidemic. The legislation requires monetary damages awarded to the State as a result of litigation against the opioid industry to be deposited into a dedicated fund. This legislation passed both chambers and will be sent to the Governor for his signature.
MACo supported legislation that would have required a statewide needs assessment for mental health and substance use disorder services. Due to the high correlation between substance use disorders and mental illness, it is critical that behavioral health capacity and needs are assessed statewide to ensure there are adequate resources to fight the opioid epidemic. Unfortunately, this bill did not advance out of its committee.
MACo supported legislation to provide funding for the Maryland Prenatal and Infant Care Coordination Services Grant Program. This program helps counties and municipalities provide services to low-income pregnant and postpartum women and children. The legislation passed both chambers and will be sent to the Governor for his signature.
MACo offered amendments to legislation creating “maternal mortality review teams.” With MACo’s amendment, the legislation authorizes, rather than mandates, counties to establish these teams, allowing counties to prioritize the use of their resources according to local maternal health needs and goals. This legislation passed both chambers with MACo’s amendment and will be sent to the Governor for his signature.
For more on health and human services legislation tracked by MACo in the 2019 legislative session, click here.