ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) – Several Maryland health groups on Wednesday expressed support for a measure that would bring the individual health insurance mandate back into the state, with what fans call an innovative twist: giving uninsured people the choice of paying a penalty at the time of tax or lower payment towards a health insurance plan.
Proponents say it's a creative way to try to protect the federal Affordable Care Act in Maryland by restoring the mandate the federal government will not apply in the years to come, after a change in the overhaul of the 2017 federal tax system.

"We encourage people to use their own money to buy health insurance for themselves and their families, which is important because we want to encourage young people in good health to be part of the insurance pool – because not in the pool of insurance, we ensure an older and sicker population, which increases the premiums for all others, "Sen said.

Brian Feldman, a Democrat who sponsors the bill, with Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk.

Stan Dorn, director of the National Center for Coverage Innovation, estimated that tens of thousands of Maryland residents do not have health insurance and are eligible for low-cost insurance but do not know it. He estimated that about 50,000 uninsured people eligible for Medicaid could be contacted when filing their tax returns. Dorn also estimated that the state had 70,000 uninsured people having access to tax credits for federal bonuses and 10,000 other residents whose required deposit under the bill would cover most, if not all of their premiums.

"So, right now, 130,000 uninsured Marylanders now have access to zero cost insurance and have no idea. Even if they do, it's complicated to subscribe, "Dorn, also a senior member of Families USA, a consumer health care organization. I said.

The measure stalled last year in Maryland, but supporters hope the idea is gaining ground. Representatives from the Maryland Hospital Association, the American Heart Association, 1199 SEIU and the Maryland State Medical Society spoke out in favor of this measure at a press conference in Annapolis.

"Our doctors consult regularly, especially in emergency rooms, people who have diseases and conditions that could have been prevented if they only had access – and if they knew that they had access – to medications like Medicaid or low cost to health. we just want people to know that there are options for them, that they can afford it, "Teresa Healey said.

Conway, executive director of the medical societies of Anne Arundel County, Howard and Prince George.

Opponents say that this measure penalizes people who are poor.

Senator Michael Hough said that he had recently attended a hearing at which he had heard of farmers who wanted insurance, but simply could not afford it. The Republican described the measure as "a tax on the poor," no matter how supporters describe it.

"We are not going to the homeless to impose a penalty and tell them," We are going to make you a home, "Hough said.

Massachusetts has an individual mandate since 2006. New Jersey and Vermont have implemented individual requirements, but they rely on a direct execution approach: people are penalized for uninsured, said Dorn. Maryland would be the first to try the down payment approach, said Dorn.

"We want to see it go to Maryland, and then we'll start beating the drum and touring the country to encourage people to look at it elsewhere," Dorn said.

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