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NEWS
December 23, 2010
I think the critics of Obamacare have a point that there is a difference between requiring health insurance and requiring car insurance because in the latter case one can simply refuse to drive. But I would rather analogize the requirement of having health insurance with military conscription. Conscription is certainly not voluntary. But people can be exempted from military service if they have a legitimate conscientious objection to military service. So why not let people similarly prove a philosophical, religious or moral objection to being insured in order to be exempted from having to obtain or purchase health insurance?
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NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler and The Baltimore Sun | October 11, 2014
With Maryland's proposed licensing fees for growing and selling medical marijuana among the highest in the nation, some advocates warn that the steep costs could drive off applicants, crippling the nascent program and limiting access to treatment for tens of thousands of state residents. Prospective medical marijuana growers would have to pay $125,000 a year for a two-year license, while dispensaries would have to pay $40,000 a year, according to the recommendations of a state commission.
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NEWS
July 1, 2012
Dan Rodricks wrote in a recent column that Howard County Health Officer Peter Beilenson is "sick of the vilification of the uninsured by opponents of Obamacare. " And that he is "sick of people like Rush Limbaugh, who have great health insurance, complaining that people who don't have insurance are just a bunch of freeloaders. It's obvious that neither Mr. Rodricks nor Mr. Beilenson has ever listened to Rush's radio program or they would know that Rush doesn't have insurance.
NEWS
September 18, 2014
A former Arizona state senator named Russell Pearce resigned as vice chairman of the state's Republican Party recently because he suggested that if he ran Medicaid, the first thing he'd do would be to put female recipients on birth control implants or require tubal ligation. Then he'd test all recipients for drugs and alcohol. If you want to reproduce or use drugs or alcohol, he reportedly told listeners on his radio show, "then get a job. " It's not surprising that a conservative Republican might perceive poor people as lazy and irresponsible, but the attack on Medicaid — the government-financed insurance program for the poor and working poor and, of course, the possibility of forced female sterility — was beyond the pale.
NEWS
January 20, 2011
Doug Mainwaring expressed his belief that it's better for some people to self-insure or to opt out of any medical insurance, presumably those rich enough to underwrite the risks of major medical bills ( "Health reform unfair to self-insured businessman," Jan. 18). He gave his own business as an example of the benefits of going without health care insurance, and he declares that he owes his financial success to not having paid insurance premiums. Mr. Mainwaring rolled the dice on his wellbeing, and fortunately for him, he did not fall victim to serious illness.
HEALTH
By Andrea K. Walker | September 11, 2012
Americans are paying a little more for health coverage this year. Premiums rose modestly for single and family employer-sponsored coverage, according to an annual survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research and Educational Trust. The average annual premium in 2012 was $5,615 for single coverage, a 3 percent increase from 2011, while family coverage was $15,745, a 4 percent increase.   Companies continued to offer insurance despite the country's sluggish economic environment.
NEWS
April 6, 2012
Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s recent column on health care shows a talent for bending facts to fit ideology ("A blow to employer-based coverage," April 1). He quotes a 2011 analysis by McKinsey & Company that the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) would decrease the number of employers who offer health insurance. He failed to mention that this report was one outlier among a number of other economic reports done by independent think tanks (Rand, Urban), the Congressional Budget Office and a health benefits firm (Mercer)
NEWS
February 21, 2012
Vincent DeMarco's praise of Gov.Martin O'Malleyand the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) omitted several key facts and restated a few false impacts of the law ("Health exchanges benefit Md. families," Feb. 16). Twenty-seven states are opposed to the health care law because they do not want the federal government mandating health insurance in their states, and they cannot afford to add millions of new Medicaid recipients. In Maryland we do not see this as an issue because our Democratic legislature and governor will simply raise taxes (again!
NEWS
Erin Cox and The Baltimore Sun | January 28, 2014
Gov. Martin O'Malley's emergency plan to give insurance to people unable buy it through the broken health exchange cleared the House of Delegates along party lines Tuesday. The plan, approved 94-24 with support from only one Republican, would allow people stymied by the technical troubles of the state's online marketplace to get retroactive health care through a state program. The state's Senate needs to sign off on some small changes before the bill goes to O'Malley for his promised signature.
HEALTH
By Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun | October 9, 2013
If there is a good health insurance plan out there for Baltimore scientist Luke Goembel, it's as big a mystery as the space he studies. Goembel, a self-employed physical chemist who has worked for the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and NASA, says he has tried to assess his options on the state's new health insurance exchange. But computer problems have prevented him from getting the user name and password he needs to gain access to the website. He and some advocates for the new marketplace — which aims to cover 800,000 uninsured Marylanders, plus the underinsured — are pressing the state to provide more information on the plans as they wait for glitches to be resolved.
HEALTH
By Meredith Cohn and The Baltimore Sun | September 17, 2014
A day after Maryland committed to a gradual launch of its health exchange, state officials are still working out some key details — including where the opening day sign-up will be held — but experts say it could be a way to avoid a repeat of last year's botched rollout.  Several health experts said the approach that limits enrollment in the first few days could allow Maryland to "kick the tires" on its new website. "It's a controlled way to open enrollment," said Karen Pollitz, senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
NEWS
By Erin Cox and Meredith Cohn and The Baltimore Sun | September 13, 2014
Republican Larry Hogan released his first negative television ad of the campaign for governor Friday. It hits a point already hammered by Democrat Anthony Brown's opponents in the primary: Brown's role in the flubbed state health exchange. What the ad says: The 30-second TV spot opens with footage of Brown saying "I'm proud that Governor O'Malley has asked me to lead the O'Malley-Brown administration's efforts in health care. " It then transitions to footage of broadcast news coverage of troubles with Maryland's online health insurance marketplace.
HEALTH
By Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun | August 29, 2014
Maryland's health exchange reported Friday a decline in the number of people who were covered by private plans through the online insurance portal created by the Affordable Care Act. But the total number of people obtaining coverage through the exchange still grew to 433,947 because of people signing up for Medicaid. About 264 people canceled their private plans in the last month because of special circumstances and a total of 78,666 are now covered through those plans. The state exchange also lost Medicaid recipients who no longer qualified for the program, but gained more than it lost.
HEALTH
By Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun | August 1, 2014
The Maryland health exchange reported Friday that more than 411,000 people had signed up for health insurance as of July 26, up more than 38,000 from a month ago. Open enrollment on the online marketplace is closed, but those who lost their coverage, got married or have another life event were still eligible to sign up. Also, those who qualify for Medicaid are allowed to sign up year-round. Most of those who gained coverage enrolled in Medicaid. The number reflects some who also were dropped from the program because they no longer qualify.
NEWS
July 30, 2014
Between the crises in the Middle East and Ukraine and the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, it's difficult to get domestic news on the front page this week, let alone good news. But the improved finances of Medicare deserve the public's attention, particularly given that the much-maligned Affordable Care Act is involved. Here's the bottom line: Medicare paid out less in hospital benefits last year than it did the year before. This is a fantastic development because, according to projections contained in an annual report released Monday, it means that Medicare will have enough money to continue paying for the hospital care of the elderly and disabled through 2030, which is four years longer than the federal government estimated for the program just last year.
HEALTH
By Meredith Cohn, Andrea K. Walker and Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | July 30, 2014
Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein said Wednesday he plans to leave his post as secretary of the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, where he drew criticism for the botched rollout of the state's health insurance exchange website. Sharfstein, a trained pediatrician who has spent his career in public service, will join the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health as an associate dean in January as the O'Malley administration ends. He took the state post three years ago after developing a national profile for his aggressive pursuit of public health initiatives in children's health, HIV and other areas.
NEWS
August 12, 2011
Do you need a mandate to force you to buy something you want or need? This question isn't asked by those who support a health insurance mandate, such as Dr. Edward Miller and Scott A. Berkowitz of Johns Hopkins ("Hopkins leaders support health insurance mandate," Aug. 9). The reason we have so many uninsured Marylanders is that health insurance is either too unaffordable or it doesn't offer a good value to those who can afford it. A mandate won't solve either of those problems. Responding to self-interested lobbying groups, well-meaning legislators have mandated that any health insurance sold in Maryland must cover over 60 procedures, something that has dramatically raised the cost of insurance in this state.
HEALTH
By Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun | October 29, 2013
Four weeks since it began selling health insurance on the state's new marketplace for the uninsured, Evergreen Health Cooperative Inc. has signed up only five people. That's a long way from the nonprofit health insurance provider's first-year goal of 15,000 people, so Evergreen is already shifting focus. Technical problems making it difficult for people to register for the state exchange culminated last week for Evergreen when its plans disappeared from the exchange offerings.
NEWS
July 22, 2014
The Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation is out with its 25th Kids Count data book, measuring the wellbeing of children nationwide across a variety of health, economic, educational and community measures. In some ways, kids are much better off than they were in 1990, when the first book was published, and in some ways they are faring worse. For the good, we can credit a number of wise public policy efforts over the last generation, and for the ill, we can blame macroeconomic and social changes for which we have been unable - or unwilling - to mount a policy response.
NEWS
July 22, 2014
I would like to clarify some issues around the Hobby Lobby case that have been misrepresented in the extreme. Under the ruling it may be true that an employer may opt not to provide coverage for four specific types of birth control. But the employer has no control over what doctor you see or what you discuss, and doctor visits are covered by insurance regardless of what an employer says. All of these drugs are available at all pharmacies. You may have to pay full price for it as it will not be an option for co-pay.
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