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News and Views for Cecil County and the Eastern Shore of Maryland
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    A CECIL TIMES SPECIAL REPORT About 96 percent of Cecil County residents are now covered by health insurance, a substantial gain since the federal Affordable Care Act took effect in 2014. But uncertainty over the fate of the federal law, which the Trump administration has vowed to repeal, poses fiscal concerns for the Maryland budget and worries local health care providers such as Union Hospital. The non-partisan Office of Legislative Services recently briefed lawmakers in Annapolis on potential healthcare cost pitfalls facing the state in the current budget year and the upcoming Fiscal 2018 budget currently under review by the General Assembly– even under the existing terms of the Affordable Care Act (ACA.) And in the uncertain climate of a potential repeal of ACA, the state could face insurmountable budget costs if it tried to assume a greater share of health insurance subsidy costs, with the potential difficult choice of deciding who, or what medical conditions, should receive assistance. The political uncertainty also raises concerns over the fate of Maryland’s unique federal “waiver”—the only state in the nation to have an exemption from many federal Medicare and Medicaid regulations—that has put a brake on rising hospital and health care costs […]

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    Cecil County Council members were all aboard the budget bus Tuesday evening (4/25/2017) when they reviewed Fiscal 2018 spending plans for the county’s bus transit, senior citizens’ and other programs, even as the services have grown in size and scope. The Council is looking for ways to save money in the upcoming budget year, in an effort to mitigate proposed increases in the county property tax rate and a rise in the “piggyback” income tax rate. But there didn’t seem to be any inclination to trim anything from the $2.58 million it costs the county to operate the Department of Community Services. The department, headed by David Trolio, had a mini-bus service and seniors’ programs at the core of its portfolio for many years, but on his watch the agency has grown to include animal services, health-related programs, youth assistance, housing aid, and broader transportation planning projects as well as greatly expanded bus services. Trolio said he anticipated bus ridership of almost 100,000 seats filled during the current Fiscal 2017 budget year. The department gets most of its financial support from federal and state aid programs, as well as fees paid by bus riders and users of other services, which […]

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    NEWS ANALYSIS From nose-biting at a polling place to creating a political club with virtually the same name as a longstanding and well-known Republican group so as to confuse voters, never let it be said that Cecil County politics is clean and above-board. Now we can add to the dirtpile the cyberspace hijacking of one candidate’s full name by his opponent, in order to divert voters to his own website and solicit donations. Ed Larsen, a janitorial services business owner from Conowingo, filed to run in the Republican primary for County Council in District 4 against incumbent George Patchell. Patchell, who is the popular head of the Cecil County YMCA and well known as a leader in youth activities, was first elected to the County Council four years ago and has filed for re-election in the June Republican Primary. (There is no Democratic candidate, so the winner of the GOP primary will be unopposed on the November general election ballot.) Larsen, apparently not content to make a straightforward appeal to voters with his own website, “Larsen4Cecil.com,” has registered at least four website domain names that are plays upon George Patchell’s name, according to records on file with the ICANN/ WHOIS […]