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Group says repealing health reform would be costly for Maryland

As Congressional Republicans vow to repeal the sweeping health care reform legislation, a consumer group warns doing so could have pricey consequences in Maryland.

Repealing health reform would hurt Marylanders with higher premiums, coverage denials for people with pre-existing medical conditions and increase state employer health care costs, according to study out today by the nonprofit consumer group Maryland PIRG.

The health care exchanges established by the legislation, designed to give consumers bargaining power when purchasing their own insurance, would disappear, forcing individuals to pay higher prices for coverage, the report states. Without the exchanges, individual premiums could go up by 20 percent by 2016, says the report The Cost of Repeal: Examining the Impact on Maryland of Repealing the New Federal Health Care Law.

Small businesses, already struggling to extend health care to their employees, would lose tax-credits to make health care costs more affordable, the report found. Employer-based health insurance could jump by $3,000 a year, the report estimates. And without the savings that health care reform, businesses would create nearly 5,000 fewer jobs by the end of the decade, the report found.

Repealing the law would mean $9.1 billion less in federal Medicaid and put the state’s 126 community health centers in peril, the report suggests.

Repeal would undo key elements of the legislation that aim to get rid of discrimination by insurers, resulting in women paying higher premiums than men and insurers denying coverage to sicker patients, the report states. In addition, some 18,000 young adults in Maryland would lose the ability to stay covered under their parents’ plans.

Whether reform costs money or saves it has been a hotly debated point of late. This NYT piece takes a look at the battle -- over the math. 

Meanwhile, here in Maryland, officials are taking big leaps toward enacting health reform. Check out Meredith's story today about the plans

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