Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) said he is not beyond asking Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to push fellow Republicans in Congress and the White House to preserve the Affordable Care Act, or to publicly discuss the effect a repeal would have on the state.
So he came to Annapolis on Monday, just days before the House is expected to vote on a replacement for the health-care law, to beg the governor to speak out.
Cummings joined House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer and Reps. John Sarbanes and Jamie B. Raskin — all Maryland Democrats — at a news conference in front of the State House and called on Hogan to join a growing chorus of Republican governors who have raised serious concerns about the legislation being debated on Capitol Hill.
“We are talking about saving people’s lives,” Cummings said.
Republican governors in Arkansas, Massachusetts, Michigan and Ohio have said that rolling back a Medicaid expansion and other changes included in the replacement bill would negatively affect their states. The congressmen from Maryland said their governor, too, should send a strong message to Congress about what they said is the “devastation” the bill would bring to Maryland.
“This is a moment of emergency for us,” Raskin said.
Hoyer said that nearly 300,000 state residents would become uninsured under the Republican bill, including 60,000 children, and that more than 50,000 health-care jobs could be lost. Losing expanded Medicaid could cost the state $1.4 billion, he said.
Hogan has repeatedly ignored demands that he denounce President Trump’s policies, and Monday was no different.
A spokeswoman for Hogan dismissed the news conference as “grandstanding” and said the governor would issue no public statement about the replacement bill to Trump, the Republican majority in Congress or anyone else.
“Instead of wasting time playing politics and holding news conferences in Annapolis, these congressmen should be in Washington doing their jobs,” Amelia Chasse said in a statement. “The governor and the administration are fighting to ensure that Maryland’s priorities are protected under any federal health care plan — it’s time for our federal representatives to do the same.”
Chasse said the congressmen appeared to be “disregarding the governor’s direct appeal to them” after they met about health care in January “to work in a bipartisan manner to come up with responsible solutions for Maryland.”
Sarbanes said the group had not heard from Hogan since that meeting and came to Annapolis in hopes of getting him to speak before a vote expected Thursday on the House floor.
“There is still time for the governor to make a difference,” Sarbanes said. “This isn’t grandstanding. This is a part of governing.”