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Single payer care not so pricey as The Sun claims

State-sponsored health insurance for all Marylanders such as the single-payer plan proposed by Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ben Jealous could cost $24 billion a year, forcing lawmakers to significantly raise taxes, according to a nonpartisan analysis.

In its analysis of the proposed Healthy Maryland Act, The Baltimore Sun Sun overstates the cost and understates the health care crisis facing Maryland families (“Maryland analysts: Single-payer health care, proposed by Jealous, could cost state $24 billion a year,” July 17). Nowhere does the analysis describe the substantial savings a single payer plan would produce — through cuts in administrative waste for profits, price gouging and marketing, as well as through a more efficient, less fragmented care delivery system.

Today, a third or more of Maryland residents remain uninsured or pay for insurance they can’t afford to use. Escalating out-of-pocket costs force far too many to skip doctor visits or other needed care at long term risk to their health. And that’s before new premium increases of 10 percent or more following health care cuts by President Donald Trump and Congress. When people skip preventative care, health care costs escalate exponentially in emergency rooms and hospitalizations.

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We all pay for that burden. This is one of the reasons we spend more in health care than any other country in the world but have worse outcomes than most. By proposing a plan to guarantee care for all, and provide health security for every Maryland family, Ben Jealous deserves our thanks and support.

Judy Alba, Mount Ranier

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