Yesterday, Nancy Adams, COO and CNE at WMHS, and I participated in a statewide conference call sponsored by the Maryland Hospital Association on the election results from Tuesday and what they mean for Maryland hospitals. Some of the background from the experts on the call was as follows:
The outcome of the gubernatorial race was unexpected and based on the anti-tax trends against President Obama and Governor O'Malley, as well as an anti-incumbency trend. Registered democrats in Maryland hold a two to one advantage over Republicans and Lt. Gov. Brown outspent Gov. Elect Hogan by a 4 to 1 margin ($19 million to $5 million), making the results that much more stunning.
There were 1.6 million votes cast in total, which were less than what was cast in 2002 when Gov. Erhlich won (1.7 million votes). Lt. Gov Brown lost by 75,000 votes to Gov. Elect Hogan. There has been a steady decline in voter turnout, yet there has been an increase in registered voters in Maryland over the years. Lt. Gov Brown won in Prince Georges, Montgomery and Charles Counties and Baltimore City but by a significantly lower margin than Governor O'Malley did four years ago. Even Howard County, the home county of Ken Ulman, Lt. Gov Brown's running mate who was also the County Executive, was won by Gov. Elect Hogan by more than 5000 votes. According to the experts, the 2012 redistricting based on the 2010 census that was done by the O'Malley Administration to strengthen Democratic districts didn't work to Lt. Gov Brown's advantage.
In the Maryland General Assembly, there are 57 new House members (seven new Republicans for a total of 50 Republicans out of 141) and 11 new Senators (two of which are Republicans for a total of 14 out of 47).
There will also be an overhaul of cabinet secretaries. We are likely to see previous appointees from the Erhlich Administration since Gov. Elect Hogan served as Gov. Erhlich's appointment's secretary.
For Maryland hospitals the message will not change based the election results. We will continue to focus on preserving the Medicare waiver; reduce and eventually eliminate the Medicaid Assessment (tax) on hospitals; pursue medical liability (tort) reform and get State support for an increase in Behavioral Health services statewide. MHA encouraged hospitals to build relationships with the newly elected House and Senate members in our districts and to appropriately educate them on issues facing WMHS as well as hospitals throughout Maryland.