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Join a Candid Conversation

Aging in Community: Challenges and Opportunities

Dialog with Dan Medinger

You are invited for an informative and energizing conversation
about Aging and its impact on individuals, families, our community and our state.

Date: Friday, April 6
Time: 9-11 a. m.
Glory Days Restaurant
10035 Baltimore National Pike,
Ellicott City, MD 21042

Cost: $10 pp: includes continental breakfast
and a raffle ticket for a giveaway gift basket

Sign up for the event here.

Health Care: A Road Map for the Future

All Marylanders deserve the right to quality affordable and accessible health care. Even before the Affordable Care Act, Maryland successfully expanded access to affordable health care to hundreds of thousands of its citizens.

It’s time to push toward a single payer system that provides health care for all. It is essential for fairness, equity and so that more Marylanders have the long-term security that they deserve.

With a Congress that’s especially dysfunctional about health care, states across the country will be called on to implement new and innovative solution to lower health care costs and expand access. That includes creating a contingency fund to ensure that children in Maryland have health care if the federal government does not fund CHIP. And, we may need a statewide mandate to replace what the Republican-controlled Congress removed from its Tax Bill.

In Maryland, the health care sector is innovating every day. It’s time to convene a state-wide commission – including doctors, nurses, hospitals and patients – to find workable solutions for more quality and affordable health care for all Marylanders. We need to reward preventative care services that lower costs and create a healthier population. We need to work with schools to ensure that children are being cared for and develop healthy habits.

Healthcare is a big driver of both the federal and Maryland’s budgets. These budgets – and, our lives – depend on high quality care. And what we are doing isn’t working for many people.

Currently, the United States spends more than twice per capita on healthcare than any other nation in the world and yet with regards to healthcare quality on a population level, we rank well below many developed, Western nations on basic health metrics.

Today, about 400,000 Marylanders are uninsured or underinsured. While uninsured, many are getting the most expensive health care in emergency rooms after ambulance rides. The cost of providing uncompensated care is paid by the rest of the population by increased health insurance premiums. To meet the need, it has become apparent to thinking people that universal health insurance coverage, perhaps in the form of Medicaid for All on the state level, is morally correct and fiscally responsible.

For prescriptions, the State should leverage its purchasing power to drive down prescription drug prices for Medicaid beneficiaries and State employees. Reducing prices will benefit all. Maryland has shown its willingness to tame pharmaceutical excesses by passing legislation to control price gouging efforts, starting last October. Now is the time to build on this success and take further action to drive down drug prices affecting Medicare recipients.

On the delivery side, Maryland can do better providing financial incentives that reward physicians for providing appropriate levels of care. Maryland should extend the Health Services and Cost Review Commission’s All Payer Single Rate Setting authority to all ambulatory and outpatient settings so as to realize the proven cost-saving and disparity-reducing benefits that have been found in the inpatient setting. Standardizing pricing for health care services across all settings of care will introduce transparency, accountability, and affordability for premium-payers and tax-payers.

Maryland will benefit from a Medicaid for All public option healthcare plan that will be provided on a sliding income scale. Individuals making up to 138% of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL) would continue to get coverage at no cost to them. Individuals, for example, who earn up to 300% FPL would be eligible to buy into this public option for perhaps $100 per month which would be more affordable than purchasing a comparable commercial plan in the open market for perhaps $500 per month.

Publicly administrated healthcare plans have been consistently shown to have significantly lower overhead costs (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services averages about 3%) than commercial plans (averaging 18%).

Congressional inaction on healthcare reform need not incapacitate Maryland from ensuring that Marylanders continue progressing towards higher value healthcare. We should not be satisfied until every single citizen in Maryland has access to quality and affordable care.

What is the future for gun safety in our community?

Gun violence is a public health crisis in need of immediate redress and the best way to prevent gun violence is to reduce the number of guns in society, improve tracking of those guns, and to ensure that all gun owners meet legal requirements of gun ownership. As someone said recently, if more guns made us safer then Baltimore City would be one of the safest cities in America but clearly it is not.

So, we need to reframe the conversation. This is not a political issue; it’s a civic issue. What kind of society do we want to be? My recommendations are as follows and I invite you to share yours, too.

ENFORCE ALL EXISTING LAWS.
For example, when courts order that guns be removed, such as when a restraining order is issued for domestic abuse, only about 7% of the time does anyone go to collect the guns. There are other examples of existing laws not being enforced.

IMPROVE DATABASE FOR GUN PURCHASES.
In the Parkland school shooting, the gun dealer said there was nothing unusual about the sale of the AR-15 to a 19-year old. That’s a problem. There were multiple warning signs that he was not stable and may be a menace to himself and others. We need a database that flags multiple sources to find out if there is anything outstanding. And if there are flags, we at least need a waiting period.

The Maryland Firearm Safety Act was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond. This law requires individuals who wish to purchase a handgun to obtain a license from the state prior to the purchase. To obtain a license one must first pass a gun safety course, submit one’s fingerprints to law enforcement authorities, pay a $50 fee, wait for the license to arrive in the mail, and upon purchase, one must register the gun in a statewide registry. A registry will reduce straw purchasing of weapons that are subsequently used to commit acts of violence.

ELIMINATE “WEAPONS OF WAR.”
We need to remove assault type weapons from being sold to the general public. Some Americans believe that they need a gun for protection. This isn’t necessarily true. We already have more than 300 million guns in private hands. There are more guns than people. So, while there are divergent views on gun ownership, there is broad consensus that automatic and semi-automatic assault weapons have no place in gun shops, gun shows, gun catalogs on our streets or in our homes.

The courts have agreed that “weapons of war” are not protected by the Second Amendment.

It would seem that all parties agree that there are limits to what sort of firearms should be available to whom, where, and when.

REDUCE SELF INFLICTED HARM.
Not all gun violence is aimed at others. According to Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, each year there are 11,000 gun homicides in the United States and there are an additional 20,000 gun suicides during those same 12 months. Reducing access to guns would not eliminate suicides, but it is possible that it could curb the number of suicides since suicide attempts are sometimes impulsive acts that are instigated by an acute crisis that could be mitigated given time. Firearm regulation advocates argue that their proposed policies would provide that gift of time and, for some, life.

We need to stop people from being able to purchase a gun quickly. According to the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, requiring a license to purchase a handgun will reduce homicides by 40% and suicides by 15%.

CHANGE THE SUPREME COURT.
In 1791 the Founders drafted the Second Amendment for a specific purpose at that time, which was to provide safety to the community. Today, those words can also be interpreted to protect our community. It’s time to get a Court to have an honest and correct reading of what it means for a “well ordered militia” and the right to bear arms – in 2018.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS.

  • Gun purchases should be limited to those age 21 and over. Those who own guns also should be held responsible for keeping guns out of the hands of children, not eligible to purchase firearms.
  • We need a thorough study of gun violence in America. It’s time to lift the ban on gun violence research by the Center for Disease Controls. Gun violence is too important of an issue to not have reliable, trusted data when considering public policy for our children and the future.
  • Red Flag Laws, which are used to reduce gun violence before it happens, needs adequate resources for enforcement. Too often those who are charged with keeping us safe are over taxed, understaffed and poorly funded to take action to follow court orders.

What are your ideas? You can share your thoughts here. But let’s move from conversation to action!!!

 

SUPPORTING WOMEN

Dan is grateful for the many women who have joined his campaign. In this video, you can learn why so many women say “I’m with Dan!”

· Dan supports a woman’s right to choose her health care options.
· Dan supports equal pay for equal work.
· Dan will fight for paid time off and adequate family leave for all workers.
· Dan will fight for pre-K in our schools.
· As a business owner and CEO, Dan has made sure that the work place was diverse, fair and just. No one should be harassed in their work place.