Access to affordable healthcare is a right that is currently denied to many Marylanders based largely on class. Low income families are doubly disadvantaged within our healthcare system. First, many are less healthy because they cannot afford the preventive care they need. Second, because they don’t receive this care they are then hit with massive bills that they struggle to pay. Those on a pathway towards economic stability are routinely pulled back by unexpected and tragic healthcare circumstances. So even when a better future is in sight, it can be stolen away at any moment.


The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been instrumental in reducing the number of uninsured Marylanders and we need to defend it in order to make sure that stays the case. Maryland’s government should be engaged in protecting the ACA and extending its protections despite hostility from the federal government.[79] In Maryland we already have government-run programs that cover those over 65 and those without the financial means to cover themselves. States currently have the option to set the rules for who can be enrolled in Medicaid and this gives us an enormous opportunity to help families in need. We should provide all Marylanders the option to buy into Medicaid.


We will put forward a bill that creates an individual mandate for the state of Maryland and would force people without insurance to purposefully opt out of being enrolled in Medicaid. Those who opted out would have to pay a hefty penalty, which would be used to help defray costs to low-income families who enrolled in the Medicaid public option. Our bill would include subsidies that were at least commensurate with those in the ACA in order to ensure that everyone pays as little money out of pocket as possible.


All Marylanders deserve easy access to safe, affordable reproductive healthcare. Facilities that provide these services should not be subject to undue additional scrutiny. Our Medicaid public option would provide comprehensive reproductive health care coverage. There are still too many Marylanders without insurance and those with plans are paying too much - the private market has shown it can go only so far.[80,81]  Medicaid, however, has a proven track record of affordable, effective healthcare, and it should absolutely be an option for all Maryland residents.[82] Allowing more Marylanders to access Medicaid is a relatively easy way to get them access to affordable and comprehensive healthcare.


As the opioid crisis has ravaged Maryland and the nation it has become more urgent than ever to start treating drug addiction like the healthcare issue that it is. Incarcerating drug addicts hurts their communities, hurts their families, and hurts them. Incarcerating them and not providing effective treatment dramatically increases the likelihood that they will not be able to hold a job after being released. Our plan would include appropriate addiction treatment for all Maryland residents.


Maryland workers can’t reach for a better life for themselves and their children if they cannot stay healthy. Health should not be determined by income and where you were born; health should be a right for all Marylanders.


Create an individual insurance mandate in Maryland coupled with a Medicaid buy-in option for all Marylanders to provide an affordable and comprehensive alternative to private insurance.

Ensure access to safe, affordable reproductive health care.

  • Implement reasonable, actionable standards for facilities that provide reproductive care.

  • Include reproductive health services in Medicaid public option.

Increase access to treatment for opioid addiction, rather than turning to law enforcement as a first step.

Expand treatment for the incarcerated, aligned with best practices.


79 Carlson, Patrick D., Jennifer B. Chasse, Lindsey D. Holthaus, and Linda L. Star, Assessing the Impact of Health Care Reform in Maryland. Annapolis, MD: Department of Legislative Services, Office of Policy Analysis. January 9, 2017, p. vii.

80 McDaniels, Andrea K. “Many Uninsured Still are not Enrolling Health Plans Despite Obamacare.” The Baltimore Sun, May 28, 2016.

81 Clabaugh, Jeff. Maryland Health Insurance Premiums Going Up Average 33 pct. Next Year. WTOP. August 30, 2017.

82 Clemans-Cope, Lisa, Teresa A. Coughlin, Sharon K. Long, and Dean Resnick, What Difference Does Medicaid Make? Assessing Cost Effectiveness, Access, and Financial Protection under Medicaid for Low-Income Adults. Menlo Park, CA: The Kaiser Family Foundation, May 2013, p. 1.

Authority: Friends of J.D. Merrill, Josh K. Russakis, Treasurer.

P.O. Box 5685, Baltimore, MD 21210