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Letter to the Candidates

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is now over eight years old, yet the law will yet again be in the spotlight in 2018. With Maryland’s primary election concluded, elected officials will certainly begin fielding questions from voters about where they stand on health care.

The reality is only around 154,000 Maryland citizens have signed up for coverage through the state-bases ACA exchange. Far more families receive their coverage through Medicaid, Medicare and employer-sponsored health care plans.

In Maryland, we receive a $2 billion Medicare waiver from the federal government so long as we keep overall health care spending in check. That means that even though a low percentage of Maryland families receive ACA coverage, if they lose coverage it could increase overall health care costs for all of us – even those not on an ACA plan.

I would encourage candidates to refrain from a “for or against” ACA response. Instead, let’s focus on strengthening employer-based plans, finding solutions to improve current law, protecting Medicare and Medicaid, and working toward increasing access to affordable health care for all.

- Dr. Kathleen O’Brien, CEO of Walden/Sierra, Inc. a premier behavioral health organization serving Southern Maryland.

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