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Legislature should support Maryland Health Progress Act of 2013

We at the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative are thrilled that the O'Malley Administration continues to make our state the lead dog in the pack implementing the Affordable Care Act. As with the previous two years, we are once again the envy of states across the nation with this year's bill, the Maryland Health Progress Act of 2013 (SB 274/HB 228).

This bill will help complete a three year process to ensure that hundreds of thousands of Marylanders that formally had little to no access to quality, affordable health care now have options that have never existed before. This bill promotes transparency, non-discrimination and fiscal responsibility that will help create a robust marketplace and provide feasible options for many Marylanders left out in the cold. The legislation also captures very significant funding from the federal government to continue the life-saving Medicaid expansion that Maryland began in 2007, which led to more than 300,000 of our citizens gaining health care coverage.

We cannot thank the administration enough for continuing to push forward with legislation that will make sure we all have opportunities to provide coverage for our families. Now, it is time for the Maryland General Assembly to act. We urge our legislators in Annapolis to stand with Maryland's children, mothers, and fathers and pass this critical piece of legislation — to continue the progress we have made over the years.

Matthew Celentano, Baltimore

The writer is the Deputy Director of Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative.

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