Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee succeeded in their efforts to repeal the mandate for taxpayers to have health insurance in the Affordable Care Act as part of their tax reform proposal. Now, lawmakers in Annapolis are considering imposing a state level equivalent.
Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee succeeded in their efforts to repeal the mandate for taxpayers to have health insurance in the Affordable Care Act as part of their tax reform proposal. Now, lawmakers in Annapolis are considering imposing a state level equivalent. (Win McNamee / Getty Images)

The Baltimore Sun recently published an editorial describing federal attempts to sabotage health coverage gains made under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by allowing for the proliferation of junk insurance (“Trump's latest effort to undermine the ACA makes Maryland action all the more crucial,” Feb. 20). As the editorial describes, this would expose more consumers to denials of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, offer very limited benefits and cause exchange plan premiums to skyrocket.

The Protect Maryland Health Care Act currently before the Maryland General Assembly would protect Marylanders from this nightmare scenario. It would create a requirement that everyone have quality coverage. Short term junk insurance would not fulfill the requirements to avoid a penalty. Marylanders who do not purchase quality coverage could choose either to pay a penalty, or else use the money to purchase quality, affordable health coverage. At the same time, this proposal would make it easier for people who truly cannot find affordable coverage to obtain a hardship exemption using a progressive model similar to Massachusetts’, which has been in place since prior to the passage of the ACA.

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The Trump administration’s rule would hurt consumers. The Protect Maryland Health Care Act, if it becomes law, can help Marylanders access the quality, affordable health coverage that they deserve.

Stephanie Klapper, Baltimore

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