It is unfortunate that two articles in Sunday's Sun referred to Maryland's health care exchange as "failed" ("Race for Maryland governor turns negative," April 20) and "one of the worst" ("Gansler spot critical of health exchange 'debacle,'" April 20) without also mentioning that Maryland has expanded health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act to over 320,000 people — well above the original goal of 260,000.
Among those new enrollees are people like Nancy Hughes, a former Maryland schoolteacher who lost her job and was in desperate need of health care services, which she could not afford. She calls the coverage she now has under the Affordable Care Act a "blessing and a life saver."
Another example is Tom Friedel, whose private coverage prior to the Affordable Care Act was costly but did not meet his health needs. He now has affordable full private insurance coverage now under the Affordable Care Act. The state's health care navigators who helped him get the health care he needed also got his son enrolled for the first time in the Maryland Children's Health Insurance Program.
Ms. Hughes and Mr. Friedel represent hundreds of thousands of Marylanders who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act. We are all better off because expanding health care coverage to lower income people who cannot afford private coverage has reduced by at least $164 million what we all pay every year in our insurance premiums to cover uncompensated hospital care. Yes, there have been serious problems with the Maryland health care website, and they are being fixed. But, we must not forget that we have achieved a tremendous public health success in Maryland by expanding health care to more than 320,000 people. Let's work together to build on that success.
Vincent DeMarco, Baltimore
The writer is president of the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative.-
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