Nobody should go broke just because they get sick.  When my father battled cancer last year, our whole family struggled with the daily indignities of chemotherapy.  Worrying about my parents losing their home would have been an atrocious additional layer of misery, but that’s the reality for too many Maryland families. Universal coverage is difficult to solve at the state level because of the wide variety of federal laws governing Medicare, Medicaid, and employee benefit plans, but that doesn’t mean we’re powerless.

As your Delegate, I’ll...

  • Support a state-level individual mandate. After President Trump’s dismantling of the Affordable Care Act, Maryland help pick up the federal government’s slack to stabilize our insurance market. I support Senator Brian Feldman’s proposal to use the non-coverage fine as a “down payment” for coverage in our state exchange.

  • Keep medical costs down by preserving Maryland’s unique all-payer rate setting model, which allows us to place stricter price controls on hospital care.  Managing healthcare costs is a crucial element of the effort to reach universal coverage without exploding the state budget.

  • Expand rate setting to prescription drugs by establishing a statewide drug price commission. Pharmaceuticals are not a free market; free markets do not experience 5500% increases overnight, as Pharma-bro Martin Skreli ensured when he raised the price of Daraprim from $13.50 per tablet to $750.  I support the bill proposed by Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk, which would only trigger controls when drugs are first brought to market or when dramatic price increases occur.

  • Drive down drug prices. U.S. consumers spend twice as much on drugs as Europeans. Maryland patients’ specialty-tier pharmaceutical spending is already capped at $150 per month; let’s follow California and cap all covered drugs at $250 or $500 per month. Let’s answer concerns about innovation by advocating for improving the NIH’s funding.

  • Work toward universal coverage.  I believe the best route for this is a Medicaid-for-All public option, so that anyone who lacks healthcare coverage could buy a low-cost plan through the state of Maryland.  Though we can expand Medicaid access to 200% of the federal poverty line with existing federal subsidies, only additional federal funds will allow for a more radical expansion of Medicaid access.

  • Pursue more resources for mental health and addiction care, especially for young people.  Addiction and mental health issues deserve treatment and understanding, not scorn and stigma.  

  • Deliver funding and support for community schools, which use neighborhood schools to cluster healthcare and other vital services.  Most children who receive mental health care get it at school.  Let’s set rules about the student:counselor ratio and make sure more counselors are licensed to give therapy.  Moreover, let’s make full-time licensed social workers and school psychologists a statewide priority.