www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-0727-van-hollen-medicaid-letter20110727,0,7988072.story

baltimoresun.com

Van Hollen is right: Medicaid cuts hurt everyone

6:30 AM EDT, July 28, 2011

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Contrary to Robert Erlandson's letter ( "Van Hollen shows why it will be so hard to reduce the deficit," July 26), Rep. Chris Van Hollen's op-ed ("Medicaid cuts would hurt us all," July 25) correctly pointed out the consequences of cutting Medicaid. As Rep. Van Hollen wrote, whenever uninsured people go to the hospital and get care they cannot afford, we all pay for that with increase premiums that are used to cover uncompensated hospital costs.

According to Families USA, about $1,000 of each of our health insurance premiums go every year to cover the health care costs of the uninsured. If we cut the Medicaid program, it would mean a substantial increase in this hidden health care tax for all of us.

When states instead expand Medicaid to cover more lower income people, as Massachusetts has done and we did in 2007, the burden of uncompensated care drops, reducing the upward pressure on health insurance premiums. So, we hope Congress and the president listen to Rep. Van Hollen and keep the Medicaid program intact.

Vincent DeMarco, Baltimore

The writer is president of Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative.