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Medicaid expansion good for Maryland

Medical ResearchMedicaid

Thank you for your recent article on a study of Medicaid the New England Journal of Medicine that addressed the role of Medicaid in promoting mental health and protecting families from financial ruin ("Study: Medicaid has mixed record in improving health," May 2).

Maryland was among the first states to commit to full expansion of Medicaid under health reform, and we can (and should) learn a lot from the results of this study. Nearly 200,000 people are expected to gain coverage through the program starting Jan. 1, 2014, and we can expect that these people will also benefit from improved mental health and protection from financial ruin like those in the study.

Maryland differs from the environment described in the study with regard to our state's efforts to strengthen the Medicaid program and prepare for rapid enrollment. Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown's Health Enterprise Zones Initiative, Patient-Centered Medical Homes and the Maryland Hospital Association's unique approach to reducing hospital readmissions are all Maryland-specific features of our health care system that point to better outcomes for our state residents compared to those in the study. These individual efforts contribute to a stronger health care system for all of us — private and public sector alike — to ensure that patients easily get the care they need to improve health outcomes and reduce waste.

Suzanne R. Schlattman, Baltimore

The writer is deputy director for development and community outreach for Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative Education Fund, Inc.

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