Healthcare costs continue to rise for every American, including those of us here in Maryland. The gains we made with the Affordable Care Act are now tenuous, as congress and the new administration weigh their options with the stated goal of eliminating the ACA altogether.
As delegate, I will fight to protect Marylanders and ensure that they have affordable healthcare, regardless of what happens at the federal level. Such action would not be without precedent — after all, it was Massachusetts’ state law that served as the template for the ACA.
We must first ensure that Maryland’s funding for Medicaid holds firm at the expansion levels brought on by Obamacare, to protect our most vulnerable citizens.
Ideally, I would like to see Maryland (and the nation, for that matter) implement the sort of single-payer healthcare program that is common in many other developed nations. However, I concede that the finances of such a plan may be beyond the state’s reach, given that we don’t have the same budgetary tools at our disposal as the federal government.
What we can do, is take advantage of our existing infrastructure in the Maryland Health Connection’s insurance marketplace, craft our own version of a market-based solution like the ACA, and ensure that all Marylanders at least have catastrophic coverage to prevent bankruptcies due to a medical emergency.
I would also propose a bold new solution to control costs that the ACA did not address: collective bargaining for the people. By creating the framework for people and businesses to band together and negotiate as one with insurance companies, we can give the people the leverage they need to get realistic premiums and quality care.
To offset some of the cost for the insurance industry, I propose transparent pricing on drugs and especially hospitals to help curb some of the rampant and needless expenses incurred against those least able to afford it.