Maryland Senate passes health care implementation bill

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Local,Maryland,Andy Brownfield

ANNAPOLIS -- The Maryland Senate passed a bill Wednesday to further the implementation of President Obama's federal health care overhaul.

The measure, passed 35-11, expands Medicaid eligibility and provides funding for the Maryland health exchange, among other changes. Maryland is at the forefront of states implementing the health care overhaul.

The bill met opposition from Republicans, who wanted to know whether the federal government would step in to fund the health care exchange if the state didn't.

Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Chairman Sen. Edward Kasemeyer said Maryland the feds would not step in.

"You would have an exchange that is estimated to cost $35 million that wouldn't be funded [if the bill doesn't pass]," Kasemeyer said.

A nearly identical bill passed the House on Monday. Differences between the two would have to be smoothed out before the bill heads to Gov. Martin O'Malley's desk.

O'Malley, whose office introduced the bill, is expected to sign it.

abrownfield@washingtonexaminer.com

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