Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan traveled down the beltway today to meet with members of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet.
The AP reports Hogan scheduled Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.
Hogan’s spokeswoman Amelia Chasse told the AP that he planned to discuss with Price how Republicans’ proposed American Health Care Act could affect Maryland, including the state’s non-cost-shifting Medicare waiver and potential losses in coverage for state residents. His visit comes days after a public call by four of Maryland’s Democratic members of Congress for the governor to speak out on the proposed Obamacare repeal.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated 14 million people may lose their coverage just within the next year. Here in Baltimore, Health Commissioner Leana Wen said the plan would also hurt the most vulnerable populations – seniors, children, low-income residents and the disabled – due to its proposed cap on Medicaid spending.
Hogan also plans to ask for federal money to help fight the state’s opioid epidemic, for which he recently declared a state of emergency.
In his meeting with Chao, Hogan’s team said he plans to ask for assistance with top-priority transportation projects, including the much-desired Howard Street Tunnel expansion. Maryland reapplied for a $155 federal FASTLANE grant for that project in December after the Obama administration rejected his request last year. With that money, Baltimore could widen the berth in the tunnel and double the number of freight cars entering and leaving the city, giving a big boost to Maryland’s shipping industry.
Hogan’s spokeswoman also told the AP he wants to discuss upgrades to I-81.
The focus for the governor’s planned meeting with Dr. Ben Carson, the retired Hopkins neurosurgeon-turned-presidential candidate-turned housing secretary, remains unclear. Multiple spokespeople from his office haven’t responded to a request for more information.
The Washington Post says Hogan brought his own personnel corresponding to each federal department: state Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn, Housing Secretary Kenneth Holt and Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary Dennis R. Schrader.
This will be at least the second official trip to Washington for Hogan in the last month. In late February, he spent a weekend meeting with fellow Republican governors, Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump.
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