ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) implementation bill sailed through the Maryland House Monday with a 93-43 vote.
PPACA calls for the federal government to pay for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange during the first year of operation, but someone will have to come up with $24 million to pay for exchange operations in fiscal year 2015.
Maryland plans to get the money from an existing 2 percent tax on insurance plans that are state-regulated.
The measure also includes an expansion of Medicaid eligibility to 133 percent of the federal poverty line, compared to the current cut-off of 124 percent. PPACA gave states the option to accept expansion, refuse it or postpone a decision.
The bill was supported by 92 Democrats and one Republican; 42 Republicans and one Democrat voted against it.
Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, praised Maryland officials for embracing the plan.
“This will help many thousands of Marylanders get the health care they need and reduce the uncompensated care we all now pay for the hospitalization of the uninsured,” DeMarco said.
Opponents, including Delegate Anthony O’Donnell, the House minority leader, talked about how controversial PPACA has been.
“Many people in the country, obviously, are deeply divided on this issue,” O’Donnell, R-Calvert, said. “Many governments, many state governments, are not implementing this. Maryland is rushing headlong into it.”