CUMBERLAND, MD — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) today addressed a forum on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) hosted by the Allegany County Human Resources Development Commission, the Western Maryland Central Labor Council and the Alliance for Retired Americans. Speakers at the forum also included Maryland Secretary of the Department of Aging Gloria Lawlah, and NAACP Chapter President Bernard Wynder.
Senator Cardin highlighted that the ACA will provide health care coverage to more than 30 million Americans, including 750,000 Marylanders.
“The Affordable Care Act is providing millions of Americans with important benefits and making sure that insurance companies provide the best possible health care for a reasonable price,” said Senator Cardin. “Millions of Americans have already benefited from this law, which provides coverage options for young adults, makes prescription drugs more affordable for seniors, and removes lifetime limits on care and limits pre-existing condition exclusions.”
The ACA also contains several provisions that Senator Cardin championed, including: universal dental coverage for children; a guarantee of patients’ rights, including access to emergency medical services; patient choice of primary care providers and pediatricians; and direct access to ob/gyns for women. He also fought for the elimination of copays and deductibles for Medicare preventive services and secured the establishment of the HHS Offices of Minority Health and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health.
In addition to the new coverage benefits guaranteed in the ACA, Maryland has received $34.4 million in grants since passage of the law in 2010. These grants are for research, planning, information technology development, and implementation of Affordable Insurance Exchanges. The ACA also provided $21.4 million to Maryland to create new health center sites in medically underserved areas, helping to provide more patients with preventive and primary health-care services.