Dr. Leana Wen: Six reasons to fight the ACA replacement plan

For months, I have received questions from concerned residents about how repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would impact their health. My patients were worried about whether they could still get medications to treat their heart disease and diabetes, whether they would they lose coverage for mental health and addiction services, and whether they would continue to get basic preventive services such as mammogram, pap smears and blood pressure screenings. This week, House Republicans issued their proposed replacement. There are six particularly concerning provisions with drastic consequences to Baltimore's health:First, the bill punishes those with lower wages by eliminating subsidies to help pay for insurance coverage based on a person's income. As a physician who has practiced medicine before and after the ACA, I have seen patients forced to make the impossible choice between basic needs, including food and housing, and critical medications. I have seen patients forgo paying for insurance coverage because... Continue reading
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Chris VanDeHoef: Protecting Maryland Consumers from Restrictive Ticketing Practices

When MGM opened a new performance venue at National Harbor in December, Maryland residents gained another opportunity to enjoy internationally-renowned artists and entertainment productions. But sometimes this excitement comes with costs and risks, and there is growing concern that the live entertainment industry is quietly imposing anti-consumer burdens that can surprise Marylanders and cost us hundreds of dollars.  It is a regular practice for concerts and sporting events to sell tickets many months before the big event. Fans set up their laptops and smartphones and try to beat the scalpers to get tickets, and if the stars are aligned and moon is bright then we score great seats to a fantastic event that in a few months we will enjoy with good friends and thousands of other fans.  But what happens if a business trip gets scheduled or family life interrupts, or someone loses a job and really can’t afford a... Continue reading
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Dr. Leana Wen: Remove red tape to save lives

The opioid epidemic continues to ravage Maryland, killing more residents every year than traffic accidents. We are in the midst of a public health emergency. Across the state, nearly 1500 people lost their lives to drug or alcohol overdose in the first nine months of 2016. The powerful opioid known as fentanyl is driving these high rates; in Baltimore City, fatal overdoses involving the drug have increased 20 times in the least three years. These deaths are especially tragic because there is one medication — naloxone — that is a complete antidote to an opioid overdose. As an emergency physician, I have used the medication hundreds of times and have seen firsthand that it can bring someone on the verge of death back to life in seconds. Naloxone is safe, with virtually no side effects if given to someone who is not on opioids. It is easy to administer, with two versions, one that’s... Continue reading
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Marc Greendorfer: Laws Opposing the Boycott Movement of Israel Do Not Violate Constitution

Introduced in response to the “BDS Movement”, a growing international campaign of intolerance and bigotry operating under the guise of human rights advocacy, Maryland House Bill 949 and Senate Bill 739 is an important and needed law that will help to protect many Marylanders from discrimination. Some of those who oppose anti-discrimination laws such as HB949/SB739 have argued that BDS activity is subject to the same type of constitutional protections that civil rights boycotts enjoy. However, a number of constitutional scholars, including my legal foundation, have engaged in exhaustive research of the issues and have demonstrated the flaws in claims that measures such as these violate the Constitution. The case that BDS activists rely upon for their constitutional claim, dealing with the rights of African Americans to engage in boycotts to oppose our own government’s suppression of their civil rights, is simply inapplicable to BDS activity.  BDS activity has been described... Continue reading
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Delegate Kirill Reznik: What Are Republicans Going To Do About Healthcare?

For the better part of six years, Republicans have been screaming their heads off about repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (which they initially dubbed Obamacare).  They’ve done more about the repealing part than the replacing part, mainly because the latter is much, much harder do to.  And there is a reason for that that I will go into in a bit. Now, they can do it.  With majorities in, and leadership of both chambers of Congress, and with the impending reality of a President Trump (this is the first time I’ve written or said those words out loud), their dreams may finally come true.  Throughout the campaign, Trump called the ACA “a disaster,” “a failure,” “horrible,” and likely to “collapse under its own weight”.  All of this while never articulating what the problems of the law are, what needs to be fixed, or that he even understands what the... Continue reading
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