State Roundup, June 21, 2017

BAKER TO RUN FOR GOVERNOR: Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker is running for governor, bringing the most political experience so far to a crowded, wide-open field seeking the Democratic nomination in 2018, Erin Cox reports in the Sun.

  • Baker, who plans to announce today, is midway through his seventh year as leader of the state’s second-largest jurisdiction. A former state lawmaker with a law degree from Howard University, Baker would become Maryland’s first African American governor and the first county executive to serve in the role since Parris Glendening (D), also of Prince George’s, did from 1995 to 2003, Arelis Hernandez of the Post reports.

CAREFIRST HIKE PROTESTED: More than three dozen organizations are calling on Maryland’s insurance regulator to reject big rate increases proposed by the state’s dominant carrier, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, for plans sold to individuals on the exchange created by the Affordable Care Act, writes Meredith Cohn for the Sun. CareFirst asked the Maryland Insurance Administration for average premium increases of 52% in 2018, far more than three other insurers on the exchange.

FENTANYL & OD DEATHS: Fentanyl and its derivatives are driving the vast majority of fatal opioid overdoses in Anne Arundel County, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has determined. Phil Davis of the Annapolis Capital reports that statistics released by Arundel County Police this week show that the synthetic opioid and variants of it, such as carfentanil, are largely responsible for 47 of 56 confirmed opioid-related deaths in the county this year through June 14. Fifteen deaths were attributed to a “heroin/fentanyl mix.” Pure heroin and “other” drugs make up the remaining nine fatal overdoses. Three additional deaths are still awaiting review.