Maryland has long been a leader among the states in acting to make health care more affordable and accessible, and state leaders should be commended for continuing that tradition through the work of the Health Reform Coordinating Council ("State releases plan to implement health care reform," Jan. 10).
AARP supported the new health care law because it includes vital benefits for older Americans, and the state's 16-point plan takes a proactive approach to maximizing those benefits.
The state-based insurance exchanges, intended to provide a competitive marketplace of private insurance plans, will be especially important to Marylanders age 50 and older. More than 100,000 older Marylanders are uninsured today, and many thousands more struggle to find affordable insurance in today's individual market.
By acting on the council's recommendation to establish the framework for Maryland's exchange during this legislative session, the General Assembly will take the first steps to ensuring older Americans' access to an improved marketplace of affordable private health insurance options.
AARP thanks the council for its leadership and urges legislators to make this important foundational work a priority this year.
Rawle Andrews Jr., Annapolis
The writer is AARP Maryland's senior state director.