Last week, Adam Sachs became the eighth candidate to file for a shot at a House of Delegates seat in District 12. He said he hopes a platform focused on health care will help him stand out from the still-growing list of hopefuls.
The 50-year-old Democrat from Columbia said he wants to bring health care to every Maryland resident, and streamline the health care system to eliminate costly administrative fees and reduce lofty executive salaries.
He said his vision is for Maryland to have a system "where health care is treated as a human right instead of a privilege, and health care is a public good, instead of a private benefit."
Sachs wants Maryland to create a single-payer, nonprofit health care system that would cover every state resident and be run through a single administrative entity. That way, he argues, the system could cut down on administrative costs and have stronger bargaining power with pharmaceutical and medical supply companies.
Though the system would be created by a legislative bill, it would not necessarily be run by the government, he said.
Health care is a familiar issue for Sachs, who worked for about four years for CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield before leaving to become a public relations specialist at the American Nurses Association in Silver Spring.
While he says his ideas on health care represent his views and not those of the ANA, his involvement on both sides of the health care aisle helped him gain perspective on the issue.
"It's a very costly system that we have in America, and a lot of the costs don't really go to actual health care," he said.
Sachs said his decision to run in District 12, which includes parts of Howard and Baltimore counties, was the result of a confluence of circumstances. With President Barack Obama's signature Affordable Care Act beginning enrollment earlier this month, health care has been at the forefront of public debate. And the departure of all three of District 12's incumbent delegates at the end of this term provided an open field and, he said, a good shot at a seat.
Sachs said the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, has its advantages — notably, making health care available to people with pre-existing conditions — but he also called it a piecemeal approach to a complex system.
"The problem [with the ACA] is that it leaves the foxes guarding the hen house, offers them a new luxury coop and delivers them a million more hens," he said, comparing for-profit insurance companies to hungry foxes.
He said his health-care plan isn't new. It's already been introduced in Annapolis as the Maryland Health Security Act, but hasn't yet seen enough votes to be successful.
He hopes that by shining a spotlight on the issue, it can gain some traction.
"I decided to run because I believe I can be bold enough to be a voice to raise the issue … where I didn't really see it happening with the other candidates," he said.