The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Maryland:
Prescription Drug Politics

Oct 15, 2018

Under pressure of a rising wave of anger from tens of thousands of Maryland State retirees and active state workers, conservative Republican governor Larry Hogan recently announced that he would maintain the current retirees’ prescription program until the end of 2019. It had been scheduled for termination at the end of this year.

The state planned to require retirees to enroll in the Medicare Part D prescription program starting this coming January in place of having coverage under the current state insurance program. In desperation, four retirees had gone to court against the planned termination, though they were not expected to win the lawsuit. Their out-of-pocket costs for their prescription drugs would have gone up thousands of dollars per year, because co-pays under the Part D plans are MUCH higher than under the current state program.

Normally the governor would not have backed off on a change like this – particularly since the change was supported by the Democrats who control both houses of the state legislature. But Hogan is up for re-election in November and clearly understands how to get state workers’ votes.

However, once the election is over, no matter who wins, state workers are going to have to make a very big fight if they want to escape paying an arm and a leg for their prescription drugs.