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Lt. governor candidate says 2018 will be ‘banner year’

turnbullSusie Turnbull - Courtesy PhotoAs the number of candidates for governor of Maryland keeps growing, so far, only one person has declared for the lieutenant governor position, and that is Susie Turnbull of Bethesda, who will be running with gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous, a former national president and CEO of the NAACP.

“My campaign is about building a movement of working families to get Maryland back to doing big things again, and I can't think of a more dedicated and proven partner in this effort than Susie Turnbull,” Jealous said. “She has devoted her life to elevating the voices of working families and fighting for progressive policies and candidates with the courage to move our state and country forward.”

Turnbull has been active in the Democratic Party on the County, state and national level for 40 years.

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Affordable healthcare enrollment up through Maryland

Maryland HBE logoNew enrollment in the state healthcare exchange is up 15 percent according to numbers from state officials.

On Nov.1, the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, the state healthcare exchange that started after Congress passed the Affordable Care Act and allows residents to buy a subsided health insurance plan, opened for enrollment. 5,122 new people enrolled in the state exchange from Nov. 1 to Nov. 6, compared to last year’s number of 3,478 – a 15 percent increase.

Total enrollment, which combines the number of new enrollees with those who manually renewed their plans, is up 100 percent with 10, 420 people enrolling or reenrolling Nov.1 to Nov. 6 compared to 5,212 last year at the same time. The number does not count the 120,000 people participating in the exchange who automatically had their plans renewed.

“It’s been a very good first week of enrollment both at the state and nationally,” said Andrew Ratner, chief marketing officer for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange.

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Kushner Companies working with Maryland AG

Kushner Companies logoA spokesperson for the real estate business of the Kushner family said the company is working with Maryland Attorney General’s Office.

“We have been working with the Maryland Attorney General’s Office to provide information in response to its request,” said Eric Wachter, a spokesperson for the Kushner Companies said in a written statement. “We are in compliance with all state and local laws.”

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Going UP!

Local healthcare prices skyrocket as Trump tries to kill ACA

MIA logoMarylanders getting “Silver” plans from the state’s online health insurance exchange face a second round of premium hikes for 2018 following President Donald Trump’s Oct. 12 order stopping federal payments to health insurers to fund discounts for moderate-income patients.

For a few people, the new rates will be 76 percent more than 2017 levels.

The Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) Wednesday approved emergency rate increases for CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield and Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic, the state’s only two carriers serving the online exchange market for individual coverage. The emergency stemmed from the narrowness of the time frame between Trump’s action and when the annual “open season” begins for buying coverage on the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange on Nov. 1. Silver plans generally provide a middle level of coverage for mid-range monthly premiums.

Despite the large rate hikes from 2017 to 2018, Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer Jr. explained in an Oct. 23 telephone press conference that few people will pay the increases from their own funds. Most people to be charged the higher premiums will have the increases offset – completely or in large part – by higher tax credits, he said.

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Gov. Hogan appears at JCRC event

Approximately 150 people gathered Sunday evening to thank Gov. Larry Hogan for his support of the Jewish community in an event sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington.

Following his remarks at Beth Sholom Congregation in Potomac, dozens of people lined up to thank him for allocating money to area Jewish agencies, strengthening economic ties between Maryland and Israel, opposing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and supporting funds for scholarships to private schools.

But when a few people told Hogan they were disappointed he had moved up the starting date for public schools until after Labor Day, thereby causing County school officials to rework their calendar and possibly eliminate days off for Jewish holidays, Hogan’s demeanor changed.

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Hogan moves Taney statue from outside statehouse

Taney statueLast week, Gov. Larry Hogan decided to remove the statue that stands outside the Maryland State House in Annapolis of Roger B. Taney, the U.S. Supreme Court chief justice infamous for the majority opinion he wrote in the Dred Scott decision.

“While we cannot hide from our history – nor should we – the time has come to make clear the difference between properly acknowledging our past and glorifying the darkest chapters of our history,” Hogan said in a statement. “With that in mind, I believe removing the Justice Roger B. Taney statue from the State House grounds is the right thing to do, and we will ask the State House Trust to take that action immediately."

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Computer scientist runs for House of Delegates

Brian Crider 400x400Brian Crider. COURTESY PHOTO    Brian Crider, a computer scientist, says he was compelled to run for the House of Delegates in District 19 because of his concern for Maryland and his background in activism.

“I’ve been an activist for many years, and we’re just not making the progress we need,” said Crider. “I feel like we can do more, so my goal is to make Maryland better.”

Crider, a Democrat, says that part of what he hopes to do if elected is make people aware of resources that can help them. However, he also has a lot of ideas for things he wants to change.

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Trone speaks at local BBQ on his new bid for Congress

David TroneDavid Trone speaks at a Smokey Glen Barbecue. PHOTO BY CAROLYN KOMATSOULIS   At a barbecue at Smokey Glen to promote his run for the 6th congressional district, David Trone called to mind his simple farm beginnings and progressive ideas in the hopes of his message resonating with Maryland voters.

“You know I’m in a farm, we learned a couple of things, most important thing is hard work,” said Trone. “What we do on that farm, whether it was shoveling chicken manure, literally 13 tons of manure every day, that would be good practice in Washington.”

“We also did a lot of time feeding hogs. That could be good practice in Washington too,” said Trone.

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ACLU Sues Hogan

Blocking people on Facebook comes back to haunt governor and county takes notice

 

ROCKVILLE – Members of the Montgomery County Council say they’re taking notice after the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against Gov. Larry Hogan.

The lawsuit, filed Monday, alleges that Hogan’s staff members deleted comments and blocked constituents from viewing his Facebook page.

“The highest purpose of the First Amendment is to protect the right of Americans to engage in political speech and to petition the government to address their concerns," said Deborah Jeon, legal director for the ACLU of Maryland in a statement.

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Democrats look for opportunity in healthcare

One week ago Republican Senator John McCain stood on the floor of the U.S. Senate floor and with a thumbs-down gesture and a firm and loud “no,” killed the last Republican attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

The possible end of Republicans’ “Obamacare” repeals now opens a bipartisan window for some healthcare reforms according to congressional Democrats.

“I am of the view that we just closed the door on these repeal and ravage campaigns,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-8).

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