James K. Glassman: An Unconscionable Mess as Maryland Attempts Drug Price Controls

Many states have decided to tackle the problem of rising health costs with regulations on pharmaceutical makers. But Maryland is going them one better. It wants to be the first state to empower its attorney general to take drug companies to court for “price gouging.” A judge can then fine the companies or force them to issue refunds. The legislature’s attempts to control drug prices, however, are turning into a debacle. The object of contention is how to define words like “gouging” and “unconscionable” and “excessive” – or whether to define them at all. After a half-dozen hearings, a price-gouging bill passed Maryland’s House of Delegates, 137-4, on March 20. Then, as the Baltimore Sun put it, “A funny thing happened on the way to the Senate Finance Committee.” The bill bans “price gouging,” which it defines as “an unconscionable increase in the price of a prescription drug.” As for “unconscionable... Continue reading
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Ericka Alston-Buck: A Path To Recovery Is Needed To Lift Maryland Out Of Opioid Crisis

Our state is currently facing an epidemic that has robbed us of the potential greatness of nearly 2000 of our neighbors in 2016. The abuse of Opioid drugs is indeed wreaking havoc on families and communities in every corner of Maryland, especially Baltimore. Everyday I serve a community that is being torn apart from the use of illegal and illicit drugs. I hear their stories. I see their struggle. I wipe their tears. I also see their courage as many of them are fighting to get clean so they can assume their rightful place within their families and become productive members of society. These people need allies in their battle to sobriety and that includes leaders who advocate for solid public policy that helps addicts get and stay clean. Just last month Governor Larry Hogan took a noteworthy action when he allocated an additional 10 million dollars to fight opioid addiction... Continue reading
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Michael Phillips: Unaccountable: Every Student Succeeds Act Fails Students

As a faith leader, I am deeply committed to my calling to shepherd members of my community toward a life lived in our shared ideals. For me, these ideals include compassion, service, opportunity and honesty. We must work together to deepen community, to make a conscious, intentional effort to build on the connections between us and resist the pull of the often shallow and disingenuous responses to complex issues that face our community. Here in Baltimore and throughout Maryland, we must trust one another.  Which is why I am deeply troubled that the General Assembly of Maryland has introduced HB 978, the Protect Our Schools Act of 2017, which is a dishonest name for what the bill seeks to achieve. It does not protect our schools. It allows schools that consistently fail our students academically to continue doing so without real accountability or opportunities for improvement.  Under the Every Student Succeeds... Continue reading
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Gene Ransom: Opioids Talking and Hope

The Maryland General Assembly is considering countless measures to attack the opioid crisis in Maryland.  Many are with merit and some need work. Two proposals stand out as comprehensive real solutions to the problem, and have the support of MedChi, The Maryland Medical Society, other public health groups and officials. Those proposals are the Start Talking Maryland Act and the Heroin and Opioid Prevention Effort (HOPE) and Treatment Act of 2017. The Start Talking Maryland Act, introduced by Senate President Mike Miller and Delegate Eric Bromwell (SB 1060/HB 1082) recognizes the critical importance of expanding public outreach, education, and intervention as a component of the State’s response to the increasing incidences of substance misuse, addiction, and overdose.  The legislation appropriately identifies drug courts, public schools, and institutions of higher education as essential components of a comprehensive strategy to increase public awareness of the growing epidemic.  The Act also seeks to ensure... Continue reading
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Carl Szabo: Merriweather Memories: Why I support a Ticket Rights Resale Act in MD

I have many fond memories of growing up in my hometown of Columbia MD – several of them are of the times I had with friends and family at the Merriweather Post Pavilion. I remember using the money I earned from delivering the Columbia Flyer to buy tickets to its concerts. I remember my Wilde Lake High School wrestling team providing security for its events. I remember seeing the Symphony of Lights and my high school graduation ceremony at Merriweather.    To me, these types of experiences are the cornerstone of so many positive memories, which is why I am saddened that companies like Ticketmaster are increasingly using ticket restrictions and inconveniencing fans.  Growing up, if I couldn’t make it to a concert, I would simply hand my tickets to a friend or sell them to a neighbor.  Recently, companies like Ticketmaster have begun to restrict what I can and can’t... Continue reading
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