March 13, 2024

Bipartisan Maryland Congressional Delegation Talks About the Future of Maryland Health Care with State Health Secretary

The “Maryland Model” has allowed Maryland hospitals and providers to continue providing quality care without regard for a patient’s ability to pay

WASHINGTON – Members of Maryland’s congressional delegation, including U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Congressmen Steny Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Andy Harris, M.D. and Glenn Ivey met in the U.S. Capitol Tuesday with Maryland Secretary of Health Dr. Laura Herrera Scott. The primary topic of the hourlong discussion was the future of the Maryland Model.

A new, voluntary model by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation called the States Advancing All-Payer Health Equity Approaches and Development (AHEAD) Model is likely to be the vehicle for the next iteration of the Maryland Model. This new, nationwide framework would test the effects that holding the state accountable for controlling health care cost growth have on improving population health and health equity there. The new Model builds on the work of state-based models, including the Maryland Total Cost of Care (TCOC) Model.

“Maryland has long been a national leader when it comes to innovative approaches to health care, especially through the adoption of our comprehensive Total Cost of Care model. We will keep working together at both the federal and state levels to provide Marylanders access to quality, affordable care,” said Senator Van Hollen.

“Maryland has the best building blocks for health care in the country. As we move forward, we will work to ensure that whatever the next evolution of Maryland’s all-payer system may be that we do not jeopardize the key principles. We have one system of reimbursement across the state that allows Marylanders to receive care anywhere no matter your insurance card or if you even have insurance,” said Senator Cardin.  “Team Maryland will continue to coordinate with state officials and the Biden administration to protect the quality of care that Marylanders have come to expect and deserve.”           

"Whether its shortening hospital wait times or improving maternal health outcomes among the Black community, improving Maryland's health care system requires close coordination among federal, state, and local leaders," Congressman Hoyer said. "I was pleased to meet with our Maryland delegation and Maryland Health Secretary Herrera Scott as a part of that shared mission. Much work remains to ensure all Marylanders can access the care they need to live long, healthy lives, and our delegation is united in its commitment to making progress on these crucial issues in the months and years to come."                       

“Maryland’s hospitals are the envy of not only the country, but the world,” Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger said. “This is thanks, in no small way, to the all-payer model that ensures every Marylander receives quality and equitable care, regardless of their ability to pay. Our federal delegation is committed to supporting policies and securing resources that advance Maryland’s ability to reduce overall healthcare spending while improving overall care.”                       

“Maryland has long been a leader in taking an innovative approach to reducing Medicare spending while also improving population health – first through the Maryland Model and now the Total Cost of Care Model. Our unique hospital all-payer system has been proven to help curb costs and ensure quality care for all patients, regardless of their insurance status,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “I appreciate the opportunity to meet with Maryland Secretary of Health Herrera Scott and others yesterday to discuss how our model can continue to evolve to meet current and emerging health needs, better integrate behavioral care and drive more equitable health outcomes. I look forward to continuing to engage with the Maryland Department of Health, Maryland stakeholders and the Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services to ensure a strong future for our state’s health care system.”

“Health is a civil rights issue, and we have an obligation to prioritize tackling healthcare disparities as policymakers. I sense Secretary Herrera Scott is willing to be a valued partner in that effort as she conveyed deep knowledge, insights, and commitments when she came before us today. I look forward to next steps,” said Congressman Kweisi Mfume.

“I was pleased to meet with the Maryland Delegation about the future of healthcare in our state and thank Health Secretary, Dr. Laura Herrera Scott for her timely update on the progress of the Maryland model,” said Congressman Harris. As we work towards improving Maryland’s healthcare system, it is important that we focus on reducing obesity, which many reputable, health-based studies link to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and anxiety, as well as other health disorders. By investing resources in obesity reduction, we will in turn save billions of dollars in downstream healthcare costs and put Maryland on a path towards achieving more equitable healthcare outcomes. I am pleased that Secretary Herrera Scott expressed interest in exploring ways to reduce obesity in the AHEAD Model and look forward to working with her more on this important issue.“

“The healthcare Marylanders receive is top notch thanks in large part to the TCOC model.  But we can still do more and better to address disparities among communities facing challenges in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases.  I applaud the leadership of our Maryland federal delegation in partnering with state and local entities to better address the hospital, clinical and medical concerns of our residents.  I look forward to Secretary Herrera-Scott’s steps moving forward to address the dynamic needs of our community,” Congressman Ivey, said.

Since the 1970s, though the model’s name has changed, Maryland has had a hospital all-payer system, a unique and innovative hospital payment model that provides equitable access to care, eliminates the need for charity hospitals, and ensures patients are treated the same regardless of insurance status. State law authorizes the underlying all-payer system that is based on hospital rate setting and has continued to be the foundation of each subsequent evolution of the Maryland health care model.

The Maryland TCOC Model has been shown to improve health outcomes, as illustrated by a report evaluating its first three years.