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Letter to the Editor: Steps must be taken to stabilize Md.’s ACA health insurance market

Baltimore Business Journal
By Stephanie Klapper – Contributor

Editor: A recent Baltimore Business Journal article, “Consumers call for additional Md. laws aimed at stabilizing ACA health insurance market” describes Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative’s support for a statewide response to the federal government’s decision not to enforce the federal individual mandate starting in 2020.

Maryland should implement the innovative Maryland Health Insurance Down Payment Plan, which at tax time would give Marylanders the option to use money they would otherwise owe to pay a penalty to instead purchase quality health coverage. We estimate at least 60,000 Marylanders would be able to purchase coverage for no more than the penalty fee combined with federal subsidies, helping to stabilize the market while simultaneously providing quality, affordable health care to many who do not have it now.

We also know that skyrocketing prescription drugs costs are contributing to rising health insurance premiums. Maryland should create a Drug Cost Commission to review the rationale for very expensive drugs and use that information to determine what Marylanders are willing to pay. In addition to driving up premiums, high drug costs cause one in four people to leave the pharmacy empty handed, sometimes with deadly consequences.

We commend Maryland for applying to the federal government for a reinsurance program to help stabilize the individual market in the short-term. For long-term stability, implementing the Health Insurance Down Payment Plan and Drug Cost Commission would help us all get closer to achieving quality, affordable healthcare for all Marylanders.

Stephanie Klapper

Deputy director, Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative