Bill Ordine: A Day to Celebrate Maryland Racing

Horse racing folks in Maryland like to refer to the Jim McKay Maryland Million being run Oct. 19 at Laurel Park as a celebration of the state's racing tradition. And lately, there has been a lot to celebrate. Casino gaming in the state has been a financial lifesaver for a drowning industry that looked as if it was going down for the third time just a few years ago. The gambling halls have contributed more than $69 million to racing purses and another $19 million toward track improvements. (PressBox)

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Revising hospital billing

In most states, hospitals negotiate charges with individuals and insurers, while Medicaid sets rates for those it insures. Here in Maryland, for more than 30 years now, a state commission has set the reimbursement rates that hospitals can charge, and they are applicable to all users, including private health insurance companies and, because of a federal waiver, Medicare. (News-Post)

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Haque: Obamacare and uncertainty

One of my patients recently asked me to write about the new changes that are taking place in regard to health care due to the implementation of “Obamacare,” the official name of which is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It was passed in the House of Representatives along partisan lines, then endorsed by the Senate. It was signed by President Barack Obama, after which it became the law of the land. Later, the law was challenged in the Supreme Court, where it was validated and upheld with minor changes. (News-Post)

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Michael Zimmer: Election a time for accountability

Don’t you just love unsolicited free advice? There’s one thing you can guarantee about such counsel: It is worth every penny you paid for it. Here’s some free advice to any incumbent running for office next year: Don’t use the expression “re-elect” in any of your campaign material. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Oct. 18 // C. Fraser Smith: Flashers on for Gansler’s campaign 

Is this a dead man walking or what? Dead, that is, as a candidate for governor. Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler may have been thrust into that status as he tried to deflect questions raised about Maryland State Police assigned to protect him — from himself, it seemed. He denies it, but a state police paper trail says otherwise. The story inevitably raises questions: Does Gansler have the judgment or temperament to run the $37 billion state government? (Daily Record)

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Good and substantial reason 

Kris Lee Abbot was a dangerous man. Any dispute about that was put to rest last month, when he pushed his wife, used a pipe to beat his parents and then headed to his own home, where, police say, he shot and killed himself. More than a decade earlier, Mr. Abbot had broken into his father-in-law’s farmhouse, looking for car keys so he could drive to Baltimore to buy drugs. That incident constituted a “good and substantial reason” for the father-in-law, a Navy veteran named Raymond Woollard, to carry a handgun, and he received a permit to do so in 2002.

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Donald C. Fry: Long in the works, Red Line’s time is now 

As Maryland Transit Administration officials work on developing specific plans for construction of Baltimore’s Red Line, details are emerging that underscore two important issues — the value of the Red Line and its compelling upgrade to light rail transit as we have known it in this region. (Daily Record)

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Website woes damaging to health plan

It’s not like the federal government didn’t have plenty of time to prepare. Lost in the hubbub over the federal government shutdown this month is the sad reality that the web portals for accessing new insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act have not been up to snuff. Many thousands of Americans have struggled through long wait times to access information, set up accounts or buy insurance. (Daily Times)

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