PNS Daily Newscast - March 25, 2019 

Mueller clears Trump of coordinating with Russia, but leaves the door open to obstruction of justice. Also on the Monday rundown: A look at how federal food assistance helps people looking for work. Plus, are you driving a salvaged car?

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Health Advocates Call for Continued Action on ACA

The signing of the Affordable Care Act enabled some 400,000 Marylanders to gain health insurance. (Pixabay)
The signing of the Affordable Care Act enabled some 400,000 Marylanders to gain health insurance. (Pixabay)
March 26, 2018

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Supporters and opponents agree the groundbreaking federal Affordable Care Act is far from perfect, but those in favor are celebrating the eighth anniversary of millions gaining health coverage while pointing to simple fixes to make the plan better.

On Friday, legislators, health advocates and consumers who benefited from what's been dubbed "Obamacare" gathered at Lawyers Mall to celebrate the signing of the ACA while calling for more action on the state level to make it better.

Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative, says with Washington's ongoing attempts to gut the law, the state can step up with its own health-care mandate and make it more like a down-payment for insurance.

"So that people when they don't have insurance and they pay a penalty, that penalty is used to get them insurance<’ he says. “These are smart proposals which can build on what we've already done. "

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan is a Republican who opposed the GOP effort in Washington to repeal the ACA and has said he's open to ideas from Democrats to make the law better for the state.

DeMarco says despite attempts to chip away at it, the core of the Affordable Care Act remains, which includes the expansion of Medicaid to include coverage of 20 million or more Americans and more than 400,000 Marylanders who didn't have health care before.

"It's unfortunate that Donald Trump and many in Congress keep attacking it,” says DeMarco. “But luckily their efforts to repeal it have failed. We just have to do everything we can in Maryland to protect the program here, which is what we're doing."

The GOP-led Congress was supposed to put in place legislation that would've funded efforts to stabilize individual coverage under the Affordable Care Act, but it was left out of the $1.3 trillion spending bill. Health insurers are warning that will end up hurting consumers with rate hikes expected to be as much as 10 percent, according to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - MD