By Eric Naumburg, M.D.
The Baltimore Sun, Letters, March 20, 2014
Regarding your article on Connecticut’s health exchange (“Maryland looks to Connecticut as exchange model,” March 14), Maryland should copy that state’s one-payer Medicaid system for the poor.
In 2012, Connecticut’s Medicaid program jettisoned its private insurance plans, a system similar to Maryland’s Medicaid program, and formed “Husky,” a state-administered Medicaid plan with only one payer — the state.
The impetus for the change came after outside audits of two private Medicaid insurers in Connecticut showed significantly less money going to actual medical care than reported by the insurers. A one-payer system simplifies the enrollment process, saving money for the state and making it more attractive to providers.
In its first year, costs per member in “Husky” went down 2 percent, and the number of providers accepting Medicaid increased. While a comprehensive national single-payer system that covers everyone with one standard of care would be far better, a switch to a one-payer Medicaid program in Maryland would be a step in the right direction toward lower health costs and improved access to care.
Dr. Eric Naumburg is co-chair of the Maryland chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program.