The Baltimore Sun

Fox missed the mark on Healthy Howard

Howard County Councilman Greg Fox missed the mark in going off on the Healthy Howard program ("Health Project Raises Doubt," Dec. 11).

Howard County's newly established health care access program is responsible for more than 1,000 previously uninsured residents receiving access to care in its first month of existence. That is wonderful news!

The fact that many of these individuals qualified for existing state and federal programs is great - the Healthy Howard program was created as an option of last resort when other resources don't exist. Given that Howard has an estimated 20,000 residents lacking health insurance, there will be no shortage of people that will benefit from the program, so Mr. Fox's suggestion to redirect funding seems short-sighted and mean-spirited.

Let's give this program the funding and the support it needs from our elected leaders.

Kari Appler, Columbia

A response to Fox's 'lack of research' remark

We would like to respond to what County Council member Greg Fox characterized as a "lack of research" when it came to predicting the Healthy Howard Access Plan's initial enrollment numbers ("Health Project Raises Doubt," Dec. 11).

First, we accurately predicted an overwhelming response to the Healthy Howard launch. More than 1,100 uninsured county residents applied for coverage because they thought they were eligible for Healthy Howard.

Enrolling those eligible for existing programs in Healthy Howard would be an unwise use of taxpayer dollars.

Secondly, we did predict that the majority of early applicants would likely be eligible for other state programs. We had established partnerships with the comptroller, the school system, and Kaiser Permanente long before the launch to begin identifying those who were eligible for other programs. There are between 5,000 and 7,000 residents who previously had no idea that they were eligible for health care programs. Thanks to Healthy Howard, we are getting them enrolled.

Getting people covered is good for families, good for public health, and even better for the community at-large. In just eight afternoons in October, our team linked 1,100 residents to health care. In future months, we will continue to enroll scores of residents in the health program best suited for them.

Glenn E. Schneider Elizabeth Edsall KrommThe writers are county Health Department employees and two of the primary crafters of the Healthy Howard Access Plan.

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