Larry Hogan’s hypocrisy on drug prices

September 24, 2019

September 22, 2019 at 6:48 p.m. EDT

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has refused to release funding for the Prescription Drug Affordability Board, and he has not named the administration-appointed members as required by the legislation that created the board. In recent days, he has signaled a path forward through an existing commission appointed entirely by him, not an independent body as the legislation requires.

The aim of the board is to control drug prices by looking at rate-setting as a solution to predatorily high drug prices. With the exception of Harford County Executive Barry Glassman (R), who encouraged the governor to sign the legislation, most Republicans retreat to old arguments about socialism when discussing this issue. That was the crux of the arguments during the floor debate on the bill. But here is the irony: Maryland has a four-decade-long history of rate-setting in medical care. Our All-Payer Hospital waiver sets hospital reimbursement rates for every medical service at every hospital in the state. Mr. Hogan fought hard to ensure the Trump administration renewed the program. Mr. Hogan also spilled buckets of ink on news releases to tout his accomplishment of continuing rate-setting in the state.

It seems the governor loves medical rate-setting when he can take credit for it, but if the idea comes out of the legislature, it’s not worth signing or funding.

Kirill Reznik, Germantown

The writer, a Democrat, represents District 39 in Montgomery County in the Maryland House of Delegates, where he chairs the Health and Social Services Subcommittee on Appropriations.

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