Maryland's new Medicaid waiver is a sign of its continued leadership on health policy.
Earlier this week, Maryland finalized and had an important plan approved with the federal government to continue to make progress with our life-saving Medicaid program ("State reaches agreement with feds to allow Medicaid to pay for more services," Dec. 27). This five-year agreement will be critical as we creep toward a very uncertain time in the health care world. It is really anyone's guess what we are about to encounter with a potentially dramatic shift in health care, but one thing remains absolute, Medicaid is a safety net program for our most vulnerable friends, family and neighbors.
Maryland has always been a leader. We expanded our state Medicaid program years before the passage of the Affordable Care Act when we wanted to increase access to coverage, but also when we saw that uncompensated costs to the overall system were unsustainable. Forward thinking led us to the conclusion that as a state we could and must do more. This just-approved waiver agreement is a continuation of this commitment to our citizens as it recognizes the connection between social issues and health outcomes which have direct correlation to our state's health and financial well-being.
We applaud the Medicaid team at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for their proactive and steadfast approach to this waiver's development, and we look forward to providing assistance implementing new policy to help provide foster kids access to dental care, giving folks in Maryland with substance use disorders new tools to recover with residential treatment, easing the transition from correctional facilities with the peace of mind of health care coverage, and continuing to lead the nation with a Medicaid program that is committed to never leaving a Marylander behind.
Matthew Celentano, Baltimore
The writer is deputy director of the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative.