House Lawmakers Introduce Single-Payer Health Care Bill

    Del. Kirill Reznik (D-Montgomery) introduced legislation Wednesday that would establish a single payer health care system in Maryland.

    Modeled on the existing Medicaid system, the bill would establish the Office of Health Care Coverage, which would be funded by a payroll tax to employers, and would contract with managed care organizations to provide health care to all Maryland residents. Residents would be given their choice of participating MCOs for their needs, and would be able to work with the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange to ensure coverage.

    In a news release, Reznik said benefits provided by the managed care organizations would be more comprehensive than what is currently provided under the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

    Reznik said cost analyses show that, on average, employers will be paying less under this plan than they currently spend under traditional small group or large group market plans, and will benefit from and realize additional cost savings from a streamlined administrative process, standardized rates, and the elimination of “middleman-type expenses such as brokers.”

    Benjamin T. Jealous, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in 2018, proposed a Medicare-for-all plan but was roundly criticized by Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) – and also by some Democrats – for advancing a risky and overly costly plan.

    Reznik’s bill has attracted eight co-sponsors so far – all Democrats. The measure has been referred to two House panels – Health and Government Operations and Economic Matters.

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    Josh Kurtz
    Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.