The Maryland Senate has passed a bill that will fund a key component of federal health care reform. Senators voted 35-11 for the bill that will fund the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, which is the new insurance market that will offer residents a choice of private health plans.
The exchange is a big part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act that was approved by Congress and President Obama. The measure the Maryland Senate approved yesterday also includes an expansion of Medicaid eligibility to 133 percent of the federal poverty line, up from the current 124 percent.
State officials estimate that number of uninsured Marylanders will be cut in half by the end of the decade under the health care overhaul. The House of Delegates passed its version of this bill earlier this week, meaning a conference committee will be needed to iron out any differences in the bills before Gov. Martin O'Malley's is able to sign anything.