Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ben Jealous currently trails Gov. Larry Hogan, the Republican incumbent, in the polls. But the challenger has a plan to turn the tide.

Jealous has released a detailed proposal to enroll most state residents in MD-Care, a government-run health insurance plan that would “eliminate co-pays, high-deductibles, and other out-of-pocket barriers to coverage.” He hopes his “Medicare-for-All”-style reform will win over voters worried about rising health care costs.

That’s a risky bet. Single-payer health care would require massive tax hikes and result in poor quality care. Numerous other blue states have considered but ultimately rejected single-payer proposals for those exact reasons.

Marylanders would be wise to follow suit.

MD-Care would be enormously expensive. Maryland’s Department of Legislative Services estimates the plan would raise state government expenditures by $24 billion each year. That’s a 55 percent increase over the state’s current operating budget of $44 billion.

And that estimate is generous. It assumes the federal government would give Annapolis the money currently spent on the state’s Medicare and Medicaid enrollees. It’s highly unlikely the Trump administration would aid and abet any single-payer scheme.

Even if the federal government cooperates, Maryland’s taxpayers would still have to fork over a lot more of their hard-earned wages to the government. The Department of Legislative Services estimates the state would have to impose a 10 percent payroll tax on all businesses and an additional $2,800 fee per individual.

Other states have been entranced by single-payer — but balked once they got a look at the price tag. California’s State Assembly shelved a single-payer bill last year passed by the state Senate over concerns about its $400 billion cost. That figure is double California’s entire budget.

Nearly 80 percent of Colorado voters rejected a single-payer ballot referendum in 2016. The proposed system would have required $25 billion in annual payroll taxes — and still would have run an $8 billion annual deficit within a decade.

Vermont — home state of Sen. Bernie Sanders, the pied piper of single-payer — nixed a single-payer plan in 2014 after an analysis showed it would require huge tax hikes. Then-Gov. Peter Shumlin, a supporter of single-payer, ultimately conceded, “The potential economic disruption and risks would be too great to small businesses, working families and the state’s economy.”

Back in Maryland, nominee Ben Jealous claims his proposal would “ensure that everyone has quality health care.” That’s an impossible promise to keep.

The single-payer systems in Canada and the United Kingdom “guarantee” care to all patients. But they don’t actually deliver. Canadians and Britons frequently wait weeks or months for medically necessary treatment.

These long waits aren’t aberrations. They’re par for the course in government-run health systems. When doctor’s visits and hospital stays are “free,” patients have no incentive to regulate their use of medical services. The only way for the government to control costs is to ration care.

More than 1 million Canadians were on waitlists at the end of last year, according to a report from the Fraser Institute, a Canadian think tank. Last year, the median wait for treatment from a specialist was more than 21 weeks after referral from a general practitioner. Wait times have more than doubled since 1993.

It’s no wonder that more than 63,000 Canadians went abroad for medical treatment in 2016.

All these people pay thousands of dollars in taxes for a system they can’t afford to use. Indeed, the typical family of four pays nearly $13,000 in taxes to fund the Canadian public health care system.

In the United Kingdom, the 70-year-old government-run National Health Service suffers from chronic shortages of doctors, nurses, and hospital beds. These shortages have led to record long wait times for patients. This winter, the NHS canceled 50,000 surgeries to ease hospital crowding.

If MD-Care were to become law, Marylanders would pay thousands of dollars in new taxes — and receive substandard care in return. They’ll have the chance to reject that proposed deal at the ballot box this November.

Sally C. Pipes is president, CEO, and Thomas W. Smith Fellow in Health Care Policy at the Pacific Research Institute. Her latest book is “The False Promise of Single-Payer Health Care.” Follow her on Twitter:

@sallypipes.

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(36) comments

timothygaydos

First there is no free health care system for anyone - someone always pays and some more than others. Jealous' plan just like Nixon in NY - we will figure out how to pay later which means they won't you will. There is no blue wave coming in November 2018 or 2020 so let stop the nonsense and the unicorn fantasy again. Also if we did have serious discussions on healthcare and removed the illegals from our country and got legal citizens working again rather than just taking benefits with the exception of truly disabled or senior citizens then healthcare might be more affordable. Again Federal and State law makers must stop taking money from drug companies to keep cost low and things affordable. We know the ACA does not work at all - it was flawed from day one when there was no way to pay for it. Socialists can rename themselves but in the end they are still socialists and some are leaning harder to communism so I keep free market economy as a capitalist living in a Republic - hate people that think we have a democratic country when it is a Republic. There is a difference and it matters. Thank God the Supreme Court is getting more conservative and with two more judges set to leave the court (Ginsburg and Beyer) it will really have a conservative perspective that will save our country as will be depicted in history.

des21

California recently did a cost estimate on introducing single payer in that great state done by the Democratic controlled legislature. It was estimated that the cost would be double the ENTIRE state budget. Good luck getting that enacted folks. Even Californians are too sensible to try.

Vladimir

We need the letter by James French, as I suggested mr. Know it all

des21

Thank you for using my correct title Vic. Finally.[wink]

Redskins44

Did you read Jame's letter? I suspect not because Jim is a brilliant retired scientist who's got 30+ years of Academic achievement and lived experience over you PE Teacher.

Vladimir

des, you take after your president Donnie bone spurs another know-it-all who doesn't

des21

I know you are very jealous of everyone who has had a better life than you Vic. It oozes from every nasty letter you write. I am sorry for you.

Vladimir

CON BS. I read the article you are referring to and it has been DEBUNKED, just like the Republican Corporate Fascist Party!

Vladimir

All The Single Payer naysayers need to read my friends James French's letter today.

DickD

Not sure we can afford Jealous' plan. Maybe if it was modified it would be more acceptable. For instance, how about a nursing home plan for all adults past a certain age? You could include the individuals S.S. as payments along with government subsidies and maybe for the more affluent a nominal cost.

teapartier

We are at at point in tihs County were hard decisions must be made. I believe that mid-terms and the 2020 elections will answer a lot of questions. If the Blue Tsunami materializes in November then we are well on our way to "Democratic Socialism". The next big question will be answered in 2020. If the Democrats win the mid-terms should/could or will the Red States bow down to tyranny. The foundation is cemented there will be no compromise, no reaching out across the aisle, and "can't we all just get along" we be forgotten Then the only viable choice would be to have a Redexit/Bluexit on the 2020 ballot. Dissolve the Union in an amicable manner, no shots fired, we are at a point that a lot of dirt has been thrown and forgiveness is not going to make thing right. Redstates can continue with the original constitution and the blue states can come up with own. If you think it can't be done, just look at Europe, there are about 45-50 independent "states" on the Continent. The Bluestates will have their Socialism and the Redstates will have their Freedom. it's a Win-Win

Vladimir

You need to stop with your socialist misunderstanding! We are not talking about Soviet Authoritarian Regime or Chines Authoritarian we are talking about Democratic Capitalism and Social Democracy! "The Bluestates will have their Socialism and the Redstates will have their Freedom." LOL! Vulture Capitalism is not freedom and Social Darwinism is not Democracy! Dog eat Dog is your belief and there is nothing moral about that! How do like the recent revelations brought out by Bob Woodward and the New York Times? Donnie is going down! The Republican Party is going down ,as well! Remember, T. "Freedom is another word for nothing left to lose!"

teapartier

Vlad I believe you are a fearful hypocrite. I have given you a solution to have a Country of Democrats, by Democrats and for Democrats , and those living in this Country are Democrats, you would have your ultimate Utopia. Just think of it, No Trump, No Teapartiers, No Republicans, No Bible thumping Evangelicals, a Country you can design to meet the Democratic Socialism agenda, and yet you still berate me? What gives? I thought you would be jumping for Joy, Justin or whomever you jump to when you get excited.

And yes I will never loose my Freedom, Because Freedom to me is being locked up in chains in deep underground bunker, being flogged 10x's a day knowing I will never bow down to or be governed by the likes of you.

Vladimir

T you're projecting again the one who is suffering from this terrible fear is not me it's you and the rest of you paranoid libertarian don't tread on me fools. You need to go and live on your own Island. You sound like and Ayn Rand devotee.

hayduke2

Wow- suddenly if the Democrats win we will be in "tyranny.' Democrats don't believe in the orginal constitution. You are mistaken and way off base.

threecents

Only if we get Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina. And the first things we will do is change the Redskins name and make kneeling mandatory during the national anthem.

Boyce Rensberger

What a ridiculous suggestion. You write as if "red states" were inhabited only by Republicans and the converse for "blue states." Maryland is among the bluer states. But less than half the population is Democratic. Would you demand that all the Republicans and unaffiliateds move to a red states?

Or am I missing that this is "a modest proposal"?

DickD

Well, T, if the blue wave occurs we just might get rid of the Donald Trump fascist dictatorship!

veritas

If you want see a liberal swoon, just whisper "single payer" in his/her ear.
They are positively Pavlovian in their response to socialized medicine. The author of this LTE has provided statistics and data that she maintains illuminates the pitfalls of single payer medicine. Yet rather than debate and argue the data, the nay-sayers in this progressive echo chamber of a chat room try to de-legitimze her position based purely on her professional associations. If you care to check it, even ol' Ben himself hasn't enlightened us on just how he envisions building and maintaining this monstrosity. The huge tax rates required to support "free" health care for all will almost certainly result in a significant exodus of citizens and businesses from the state, applying even greater financial pressure on those left behind to pay their "fair share" of free health care. The last one to leave please turn out the lights...

Boyce Rensberger

I'm afraid you have confused socialized medicine with socialized medical insurance. The only socialized medicine we have is in the VA system. And despite what you may have heard, most military veterans are happy with the care it provides The only socialized medical insurance programs we have are Medicare and Medicaid.

All single-payer means is that the commercial interests are cut out of the system and, not incidentally, removed from between you and your doctor. Do you really like having the bean counters at your insurance company telling you what care you should get? Yes, Medicare and Medicaid imposes restrictions, but those are based primarily on medical efficacy. No sense spending tax dollars on treatments that don't work.

And when you figure the costs, don't forget to *subtract* the amounts individuals pay for insurance. And if you run a business, be sure to subtract the cost of subsidizing commercial insurance for your employees. That's a huge number.

Vladimir

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] Boyce

Nicki

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] Boyce!

DickD

Excellent, Boyce![thumbup][thumbup]

hayduke2

So the author’s background and affiliations would not form her opinions?

threecents

That exodus of businesses and citizens might reverse when they realize they are no longer in the health insurance business and that doctor's costs will go down. You may recall that the Republican congress failed to replace ACA and that Trump eviscerated it anyway, so insurance costs will continue to rise dramatically. Our insurance system has evolved into a mess, so I applaud Ben for making this into an opportunity to begin to make it right.

DickD

Health care insurance went way up after the Republican Obama Care repeal fiasco!

hayduke2

Hmm, ties to Koch brothers and tobacco, deniers of climate change, ties Cato Institute, ties to big pharma and healthcare - Yeah, I believe everything she says.

Boyce Rensberger

It's the transition period that poses major difficulties for individual states to adopt single-payer. But if all states did it together, many of those problems would evaporate.

Single payer works just fine in all of the advanced countries and even in many developing countries.

TryingToBeRational

No deductibles, no co-pays, no appeals to insurance companies, no in-system, out-of-system providers. Single payer is not perfect, but perhaps ours is not either.

Vladimir

The Pacific Research Institute as a Koch funded libertarian free-market Think Tank who has a very controversial history including being supported by the tobacco industry. Credibility on this issue minus 0

threecents

Why is it a bad thing to pay the State of MD rather than insurance companies?? Why is it bad for everyone to be treated equally? Why is it bad for doctors offices to just have one set of rules and paperwork?

Vladimir

[thumbup] It is bad because the Sickness Industry cannot make money off people. Michael Moore's Documentaries, "Sick" and "Capitalism a Love Story" are excellent references on this issue.

DickD

Why do doctors have to become filthy rich?[sad]

des21

Do you know any doctors lately Dick? Long time in school and the juice is not worth the squeeze. It's why so few Americans are going to med school. There's just as much money going to law school and suing everyone -far less time and debt.

Vladimir

Because the private for profit College and Universities and the so-called Elite and Ivy Leagues schools can only be afforded by the wealthy. Med School?,are you kidding only Doctors offspring can afford them. So it goes generation to generation creating the Upper Class and the Income Inequality we see today. The Aristocracy and the peasants in the American Feudal System goes on. The system is designed to create the class system and money in politics maintains the status quo!

Vladimir

Because American Fascism has been the order of the day since Ronnie Reagan. MBA has been the way and caring for people has been excluded from the Fascist equation.

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