Vincent DeMarco’s commentary (“Pandemic exposed weaknesses in the US health care system,” July 8) highlights shortcomings of U.S. health care, but the solutions offered fall short. Mr. DeMarco notes that Maryland “brought down our rate of uninsured from 13% to 6%.” But that still left 360,000 of our fellow Marylanders without health insurance before the massive layoffs and loss of employer-based insurance that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, at least 450,000 Marylanders were underinsured before the pandemic, meaning that they had insurance but could not afford to see a doctor because of the high cost of co-payments and deductibles.Maryland has done better than most states at reducing barriers to health care access, and protecting the existing benefits that people depend on. But to ensure that all of us have the health care we need, action is needed at the federal level. An improved version of Medicare, called Medicare for All, would provide comprehensive health care coverage including vision, dental and long-term care, without copays, premiums or deductibles, and it would cost less than we are paying now.
People without reliable health care coverage are represented disproportionately among the essential workers who are risking their lives to provide the rest of us with needed goods and services during the COVID-19 pandemic. If “we’re all in this together,” as we keep hearing, we should all have the same great, health care coverage that Medicare for All would provide.
Jackie MacMillan, Baltimore
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