Hrant participating in the first White House Regional Forum on Health Reform in Dearborn, Michigan.

Hrant participating in the first White House Regional Forum on Health Reform in Dearborn, Michigan.

Hrant believes that everyone should have access to high quality, affordable health care; spending most of his professional career fighting to advance this goal. 

Hrant currently serves as the Executive Director for the patient advocacy organization Dialysis Patient Citizens, working to improve the quality of life for some of our most vulnerable citizens. He previously spearheaded health policy strategy at United Way Worldwide, where he worked with its nearly 1,300 state and local affiliates to improve the health of all Americans. Hrant has also worked for years to end discriminatory barriers to mental health treatment as well as to expand patient access to affordable medications. Hrant’s health policy expertise will be a tremendous asset in helping to ensure that Maryland creates effective policies and legislation, and that the state responds quickly to any unforeseen challenges. As your Delegate, Hrant will prioritize:

Prioritize health reform education and outreach

Obamacare presents once-in a lifetime opportunities to increase access to comprehensive and affordable health care.  The legislation also creates great challenges that will require leaders in the House of Delegates who understand our health care system and the law’s key elements.  Among the areas we must address are ongoing and effective outreach and education strategies to ensure that Marylanders take advantage of the new benefits for which they will be eligible, such as preventive health care services.  Over time, this will drive down the overall cost of health care.  In addition, we must ensure that all those eligible for health insurance coverage through the Medicaid expansion and advanced tax credits know about these so that when the Maryland Health Connection first opens in October 2013, the uninsured in our state have access to care.

Continue our focus on health reform implementation

We also need to identify and close any potential loopholes in the law. For example, while there are many health services (such as dialysis) that are covered by virtually all insurance plans, they may not be explicitly stated in Maryland’s essential health benefits package. As a result, Hrant recently secured clarification from the Obama Administration that those services must be covered in Maryland’s exchange even if they are not written into the plan documents. He is now working on additional consumer protections, including an effort to prevent insurance companies from discouraging  sicker patients from purchasing coverage in the exchanges by restricting the number of  health care providers that patients can see. These are just a couple of examples of the many consumer protections that are necessary and may not be foreseen prior to the launch of our exchanges in 2014, and why we need someone who is fighting for consumers now to fight for us in Annapolis.

Address the growing need and challenges in long-term care

Like many states, Maryland spends nearly half of its Medicaid budget on long-term/nursing home care. In the meantime, the average age of Montgomery County’s residents only continues to increase. While this may be a complex issue, it is not going away. Hrant also believes that the measure of a society is how it takes care of its most vulnerable citizens and that we owe our parents the best possible care that we can provide. Like many issues, this is extremely personal to Hrant as he continues to take care of his 97 year old grandmother with Alzheimer’s. In fact, he had to move her cross country last year when she was not receiving the care that she deserved. As a result, Hrant will work to ensure that seniors have the necessary support to “age-in-place” as long as possible, that assisted living comes into reach for more of our parents and that the state of Maryland provides the necessary oversight to ensure high quality care in all of our long-term care facilities.