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Finance committee focusing on health care, insurance bills

April 05, 2007

Editor's note: This is part seven of an occasional series explaining the committees on which state lawmakers from Washington County serve in the Maryland General Assembly.

Committee name: Senate Finance

Washington County representative: George C. Edwards, R-Garrett/Allegany/Washington

Started on committee:January 2007 (served on House Appropriations Committee for 24 years)

Committee's purpose: "The Senate Finance Committee is one of four standing committees in the Senate and has a broad base of subject jurisdictions," he wrote.

How the Maryland General Assembly Web site describes the committee: "Finance Committee reviews legislation relating to banking and financial institutions; credit regulation and consumer financing; economic and community development; and health and welfare matters, as well as bills concerned with horse racing and lotteries; insurance; labor and employment; State personnel issues; social programs; transportation; unemployment insurance; utility regulation; and workers' compensation."

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Key issue(s) the committee faced this session: "A lot of health insurance and health care coverage bills have been introduced this year that look for ways to provide health insurance for the 780,000 Marylanders who have none," Edwards wrote.

Bill(s) connected to the committee's work that Edwards has introduced or plans to introduce: Senate Bill 651. A synopsis of the bill says it requires "a subsidy for medical professional liability insurance policies issued to family practitioners who have staff privileges at Garrett County Memorial Hospital and who also provide obstetrical services at Garrett County Memorial Hospital." The bill passed the Senate 46-0. On the House side, the Economic Matters Committee gave it a favorable report.

Subcommittee(s) Edwards is assigned to: Joint Subcommittee on Program Open Space and Agricultural Land Preservation, Joint Audit Committee, Finance Committee's Subcommittee on Health

Comment: "The Finance Committee deals with a wide range of issues, and this year some of the hot items are insurance and health matters," Edwards wrote. "The wide range of issues is one of the things that (makes) the committee interesting."

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