Former president and CEO of the NAACP Ben Jealous is the Democratic nominee that will run against incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan for governor, and he has kicked off his campaign with a statewide Medicare for All plan.
The state-sponsored/single-payer plan would not come cheap: According to an analysis from the nonpartisan Department of Legislative Services, it would cost $24 billion per year and increase the state’s operating budget by more than half. If the federal government withdraws its Medicaid coverage, however, the cost could be even higher. To pay for it, legislators would have to impose a 10 percent payroll tax on every business as well as charge a $2,800 fee for every man, woman, and child. This fee is designed to replace the payments that residents currently make toward healthcare costs.
A competing report from National Nurses United, used by the Jealous campaign, says that the average Marylander would save 10.5 percent per year on healthcare costs. (The Department of Legislative Services did not provide a similar metric.)
Of course, Jealous isn’t committing to what tax increases could be in store, but says that, if elected, he will create a commission tasked with figuring out how to implement this kind of healthcare system and how to pay for it.
Currently, Maryland and the federal government are in an all-payer contract system, and the federal government provides about $1.8 billion more than usual for Medicare and mandates that insurers all pay the same rate for hospital services. This contract would be void if Maryland moved forward with a single-payer plan.
In addition to opposition from businesses, Jealous has gotten some pushback from Democrats, including former Maryland state Del. Heather Mizeur, who is a healthcare policy expert and says that a state-level single-payer plan is too expensive and complicated.