Editor:

Anyone who thought Obamacare was a problem better be prepared for the new regulations regarding hospital services in Maryland. The state just negotiated an agreement with the federal government that will have an historic impact on health care access in our state. 

Maryland is a state where hospital rates are controlled by the state. No other state is engaging in this type of program.  Maryland health care consumers will be the test group.  I believe the consequences will be tragic.

There are many unanswered questions related to this new policy such as: the entire system is based on saving money, not saving lives, the plan mandates not only the reduction in hospital costs, but cuts Maryland's Medicare expenditures by $350 million. Once again the seniors are the victims.

This system is supposed to prevent hospital access by promoting wellness programs and community health care centers. Currently, this type of outside system does not exist.  The state will be reducing access to hospitals based on an alternative which is a fantasy. 

Re-admissions to hospitals in Maryland are already experiencing a dramatic increase. The time spent in the hospital by patients is either inefficient or pushing patients out the door too quickly. State bureaucrats will determine the rates for hospitals based on the economic growth rate in Maryland. Clearly an example of mixing apples with oranges.  Economic growth has nothing to do with Marylander's health care needs.

This dangerous policy is being implemented at a time when Obamacare is creating tens of thousands of newly insured residents. In Oregon, a recent study concluded that the Obamacare Medicaid patients are adding a significant burden for hospitals. All of these changes are about the bottom line. It is fair to ask will this reduction in service lead to rationing? Will Granny be denied a hip replacement or Mom a second mammogram or Dad a second prostate test? Henry Ford would be proud of the production line mentality  prevailing over our health care.

There are numerous other serious problems. Everyone's private medical records will be placed on an electronic system that could be compromised, including prescription drug information. Remember what happened to the customers of Target. The Governor and General Assembly did not participate in the creation of this Frankenstein monster that does not possess a brain or heart. State health bureaucrats and the federal government imposed it upon the people. The time is long overdue for the elected representatives of the people to become involved in this serious matter and fight to protect access to quality health care for all Marylanders.

I have introduced three pieces of legislation that will demand answers to serious questions, guarantee transparency of the program and mandate that decisions will be made that benefit patients and not guarantee profits.

Del. Pat McDonough

Western Harford, Eastern Baltimore District 7