The Department of Legislative Services (DLS) estimates that State-sponsored health care could cost the State’s general fund as much as $24 billion annually, according to The Baltimore Sun. For perspective, the State’s general operating budget is $44 billion.
The report, which at this time is not available online, has sparked a firestorm between gubernatorial candidates Ben Jealous and incumbent Governor Larry Hogan. Jealous contends that the analysis is inaccurate, or at least premature, according to the Sun. Meanwhile, Hogan’s campaign spokesperson called Jealous’ plan for State-sponsored health care “dangerously irresponsible, unaffordable and unworkable.”
National Nurses United, a union supporting Jealous, estimates that a single-payer system would save the average resident about 10.5 percent a year. It also would provide coverage for nearly 400,000 state residents who currently go without health insurance.
On the other hand, Gene M. Ransom III, CEO of the Maryland State Medical Society – which represents Maryland doctors – told The Sun that
…. he worries about the disruption caused by a shift toward a single-payer system. He thinks it will cost much more than the state analysts say.
“I have a small percentage of doctors who really want to do single-payer,” he said. “I have more who don’t. This would be a major, major change. I’m really worried about these practical aspects.”
Such a change would inevitably result in a change to the State’s tax scheme to pay for it – perhaps either higher sales taxes, a new payroll tax, or fees charged for the service – or some combination of a variety of menu items.
Hear Jealous and Hogan directly on issues like health care reform at the MACo Summer Conference Gubernatorial Candidates Forum, on Saturday morning, August 18 at 11:30 a.m.
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