Maryland must take steps to protect health consumers

In a Letter to the Editor in today's Baltimore Sun, Consumer Health First Executive Director, Jeananne Sciabarra writes:

"It’s encouraging to see members of Congress launch bipartisan efforts to bolster the Affordable Care Act and shore up the individual health insurance markets (“GOP shows signs of reaching out to Democrats on health care,” Aug. 1). Congress should work with the Trump administration to ensure that the individual mandate is enforced and that the federal government makes critically important cost-sharing payments that make coverage affordable for many Americans.

We received good news recently with a court ruling that allows Maryland, under the leadership of Attorney General Brian E. Frosh, and other states to intervene in the lawsuit over these payments. Maryland needs to act quickly to protect health care consumers from rising prices and declining competition. We again urge Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer to reject the outrageously high rate increases sought by CareFirst and those filed in response by Kaiser Permanente. Such increases will further destabilize the market by pushing out younger and healthier consumers.

There are hopeful signs around the country of insurance rates stabilizing and insurers moving in to serve people in areas that had few or no insurers for 2018, thanks to state leaders taking an active role in making their markets function well. We know that our state leaders will likewise do all they can to ensure a strong market and affordable rates for Maryland’s consumers."