Center MD

Center MD

Maryland’s leading source of aggregated and original news and opinion on government, politics, business and more. Called one of the “nation’s best state-based political blogs” by the Washington Post.

Tami Howie: Protecting Innovation Protects Patients and Our Economy

Innovation is at the heart of Maryland’s economy and the wellbeing of patients in our state. New, groundbreaking cures and treatments save and extend the lives of patients, pushing the bounds of modern medicine, for the benefit of all. Innovative companies are able to leverage Maryland’s combination of technology know-how, business-friendly climate, and highly-educated, highly-skilled workforce to produce these cures and provide hundreds of thousands of Marylanders with well-paying jobs. However, despite all this, the Maryland General Assembly is currently debating drug pricing legislation that would threaten the innovative potential that makes these benefits possible. New regulations, SB 1023/HB 1194, would create a government-controlled commission with broad leeway to influence drug prices and increase burdensome reporting requirements adding yet another layer of complexity to drug manufacturing. In so doing, it creates new hoops to jump through for manufacturers to simply go about their business. It risks innovation by undercutting the incentive... Continue reading
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ERIC DEAN: Promote Policies that Nurture Innovation and Jobs to Produce Cures

The Pharmaceutical Industry Labor-Management Association (PILMA), a coalition of companies in the biopharmaceutical industry and building construction trades unions, is committed to dual goals of fostering innovation of life-saving cures and securing high-quality union construction jobs. As Chairman of PILMA, I’m invested in the issues that are of importance to our biopharmaceutical industry partners and customers, to the extent that they are of importance and have a connection to the livelihoods of our members and their families. As our industry partners remain healthy, their investment in research and manufacturing facilities – to a very large extent built by our members – grows as well.  Last month, the Washington Post wrote about proposed legislation in the Maryland legislature that would “create a commission to decide the maximum amount that health plans, pharmacies and state programs could shell out for the most expensive brand-name and patented medications.” This so-called transparency legislation is being... Continue reading
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Tami Howie: Only Congress Can Regulate the Internet

It’s a no-brainer to support protecting the rights of consumers to unfettered access to the wide-ranging services and sites offered on the internet. But, similarly, states like Maryland must ensure that the robust internet infrastructure that fuels our digital economy continues to advance and make Maryland an attractive place to do business. There is a way to accomplish both, but the current furor among advocacy groups, state legislators and governors seeking to impose state-by-state solutions, some of which are inconsistent with other state solutions, is not the best approach. While some states have chosen a “go-it-alone” approach, others like Virginia, understand that regulating the internet on a state-by-state basis is not the best policy approach -- particularly as is relates to their state’s economic competitiveness in a digital age that promises such things as automated vehicles, telemedicine, smart cities, and 5G technology. In Maryland, four different bills in the General Assembly... Continue reading
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MINISTER DUANE WILLIAMS, JR: Baltimore’s Baffling Ban Makes Take-Out Containers Criminal

I'm from Baltimore. I'm a former Baltimore City Police Officer and currently an educator at a Baltimore City Public School, and for as long as I can remember, Baltimore has had a littering problem. In a single day, our famous Mr. Trash Wheel has collected as much as 38,000 pounds of trash from the Jones Falls Watershed. Instead of additional recycling and clean up efforts to combat this growing problem, especially in some of our most neglected neighbornoods, the Baltimore City Council has proposed a foam food container ban that brings with it a criminal penalty for restaurant owners who don’t comply. This legislation comes as the homicide rate in Baltimore continues to surge to an all-time high and the city continues to struggle to attract new residents. The city council must get their priorities straight: instead of adding costly and unnecessary criminal legislation to the books, it should focus on... Continue reading
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Gene Ransom: The Gag rule needs to be broken

Physicians and other medical health professionals share concern with their patient’s over the rising cost of healthcare. As insurance premiums, co-pays and deductibles continue to rise, patients feel the pain, and they feel it acutely at their local pharmacy counter. A regimen of life-changing prescription medications should not be a source of stress and anxiety. That's why The Maryland State Medical Society (MedChi) supports state legislation sponsored by Delegate Bromwell and Senator Klausmeir to eliminate the "gag rule" that prevents pharmacists from telling patients when the out-of-pocket cost of their prescription drug would cost less than their insurance co-pay. (SB 576 / HB 736) At a time where many drug prices are actually stabilizing, out-of-pocket patient costs continue to rise. The causes of the out of pocket increases are complicated. One issue related to drug costs is the “gag rule.” Insurance companies actually set the price for what most patients pay... Continue reading
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