Annapolis Notes - Jan. 24

January 23, 2011

Donoghue’s group to look at rural health care

Maryland House Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Anne Arundel, has created a group to look at the state’s rural health care and has put Del. John P. Donoghue in charge.

“Rural communities across Maryland face different challenges with access and quality of health care than the urban and suburban counterparts,” Busch said in a statement released Thursday. “I am pleased that Del. Donoghue has accepted this challenge to work with rural communities across the state to keep their challenges at the forefront of the debate in Annapolis.”

Donoghue, D-Washington, is on the House Health and Government Operations Committee and has focused largely on health care issues as a delegate.

The news release from Busch’s office says the Rural Healthcare Workgroup “will continue to track progress on decreasing physician shortages in rural areas, including potential partnerships to improve the access to quality health care with local universities and medical schools; examine physician reimbursement strategies, emergency room utilization and use of the emergency medical system in rural areas of the state.”

Donoghue previously co-chaired the Task Force to Review Physician Shortages in Rural Areas.

A committee switch

Last month, before he was sworn in as delegate, Michael Hough announced that he’d be on the House Appropriations Committee, which shapes the state budget.

“As a freshman delegate, I am very pleased to be appointed to this important committee,” he wrote in a press release. “I look forward to the opportunity to balance our state’s budget by cutting wasteful government spending. I am honored that Speaker Mike Busch assigned me to this prestigious committee.”

Not for long.

On Jan. 14, Busch made some tweaks. One move was switching Hough, R-Frederick/Washington, to the Judiciary Committee.

Del. Tony McConkey, R-Anne Arundel, was added to Appropriations instead.

Hough said last week that he didn’t mind the sudden change, which was Busch’s prerogative.

Hough said his three top choices for committees before the session were: Economic Matters first, Judiciary second, Appropriations third.

Although Washington County lost its representation on Appropriations, it still has Sen. George C. Edwards, R-Garrett/Allegany/Washington, on the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.

Actually ...

While leading an informal meeting about the state’s pension system shortfall last week, Del. Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington, asked his colleagues, “What is the definition of an actuary?”

Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, says an actuary is “a person whose work is to calculate statistically risks, premiums, life expectancies, etc. for insurance.”

Serafini had a different answer.

“An actuary is a former IRS agent without a personality,” he quipped.

When Martin met Katie

While introducing Gov. Martin O’Malley to the crowd during Wednesday’s inauguration in Annapolis, U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., shared a story about how he met his wife.

O’Malley was a field director for her first U.S. Senate campaign in 1986.

“At one event,” she said, “when he was supposed to be carrying this little stool, he looked across the room and he said, ‘Who’s that girl with Curran?’, meaning the former attorney general. I said, ‘She’s not a girl. She’s a woman. And that’s Katie Curran.’ Down went the stool; he left me at the podium.

“And while I was trying to impress the audience, he was trying to impress Katie Curran, who’s now Katie Curran O’Malley.”

— Andrew Schotz,

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