His remarks were genuine in that he said that it is not his intention to try to change Maryland from a blue state to a red state. He wants to work in a bi-partisan way with the House and Senate in Maryland and that process has already begun. He has met with both Senate President Miller and House Speaker Busch and felt that those meetings went very well. (However, Senate President Miller was quoted yesterday saying that there will not be a reduction in state taxes no matter what the Governor-elect says. Why anyone wants to get into politics is beyond me.)
The Governor-elect was impressed with the economic impact statistics that Carmela Coyle, MHA President, shared related to Maryland hospitals, i.e. hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic impact each year. He has pledged to work with hospitals on our legislative priorities this year which are 1) to eliminate the hospital tax which started several years ago as $19 million to pay for Medicaid changes and has since mushroomed to over $400 million; 2) tort reform and 3) address to growing needs for Behavioral Health programs and funding throughout Maryland.
Governor-elect Hogan said that he has a significant challenge ahead of him with a $1 billion deficit on a $40 billion state budget, but he expects his cabinet and advisers, who will be the best and brightest and both Democrat and Republican, to guide him through this challenging budget process.
During the time that I spent with the Governor-elect, we talked about western Maryland and the support that he has from my part of the state. We also talked about WMHS. After my description of building a new hospital five years ago and how we have since changed health care delivery over the last four years, he asked to visit and such a visit would be welcomed. All in all, it was an evening very well spent.