ON THE ISSUES

For too many Marylanders, health insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-pays keep going up, with people spending more and more of their paychecks on healthcare. Between 2010 and 2019, Marylanders’ total out-of-pocket healthcare costs[1] rose from 6.7% of their income to 8.8%. Today, the average family pays about $8000 for healthcare per year – nearly $3000 more than they paid in 2010, after adjusting for inflation.

The Affordable Care Act helped, but there are still too many people who aren’t getting high-quality care at a reasonable cost.

I’ve got a plan to get you better, more affordable care.

As governor, I would bring bold innovation to our healthcare system – by developing and testing new ways to deliver high quality care at lower cost, and expanding those strategies that are effective. 

I’ve dedicated my career to expanding new programs that are tested and proven to work. Here are just a few examples of effective healthcare programs we would bring to Maryland:

  • A nurse-led program that cares for chronically ill senior citizens after they leave the hospital, to make sure they follow discharge instructions and take their medications. Two studies found the program resulted in about a 40% reduction in rehospitalizations and average savings of $4,500 per patient.
  • A program that pairs Black barbershops with pharmacists, so when men come in to get their hair cut, they also get screened for high blood pressure and, if needed, get medication. This program supports people where they arereducing the rate of uncontrolled high blood pressure—a leading killer among Black men—by more than half.
  • A program that pairs nurses and first-time mothers for regular home visits that provide assistance in parenting, nutrition, and health. Studies show the program leads to big improvements in child health and safety, including reductions in abuse, neglect, and injuries. The most at-risk children also do better in school, and one study found the program saved the government more money in the long run than it cost to deliver.

Through innovation and testing, we would identify many other new strategies to raise the quality and lower the costs of healthcare. Only through such experimentation can we identify new programs that work and fully reimagine healthcare spending in our state.

We need bold innovative thinking in Maryland—as governor, I’ll work tirelessly to make healthcare better and more affordable for you and your family.

[1] Based on employer-sponsored healthcare, the largest source of Marylanders’ insurance coverage.

In the wake of the COVID-19 recession, hundreds of thousands of Marylanders remain out of work. Our state’s current economic challenges add to a major long-term problem: For 40 years, wages among low and moderate income Marylanders have been stagnant as income inequality has grown wider and wider.

Maryland needs a leader who has the experience to get people back to work and train people for jobs in growing fields so they can support their families and raise their standard of living. A key focus of my career has been to find and expand evidence-based programs that reduce unemployment, increase economic mobility, and foster economic development. Working with both Democratic and Republican Administrations, I’ve gotten key reforms enacted into law, including a program that funds high-tech development at small businesses, and has brought roughly $200 million to Maryland businesses alone.

As governor, I would – 

Help unemployed workers get back on their feet:

  • Giving Marylanders a Back to Work Bonus. When people who lost jobs during the pandemic have trouble finding work, we shouldn’t slash their unemployment benefits as Governor Hogan plans to do. His short-sighted plan will leave families high and dry as they struggle to find jobs in a newly reopening economy. Instead, we should reward those who rejoin the workforce by paying them a bonus consisting of the portion of remaining unemployment assistance for which they would otherwise have been eligible.
  • Providing immediate job search and other reemployment services when Marylanders file for unemployment. Rather than have people file for unemployment and get help with their job search later, we should provide people with reemployment services during their initial contact with the unemployment office. This approach made a real difference in Nevada. As I wrote in The Baltimore Sun, people who took part in the Nevada program got jobs that earned, on average, an additional $8,460 over three years – 15% more than people who didn’t participate in the program. By moving people off unemployment and into jobs, this approach saves money for taxpayers, too.
  • Offering a sizeable earnings supplement to long-term unemployed workers who find a full-time job. When similar programs were tested in Milwaukee and Canada, they significantly increased employment and reduced the poverty rate by about 10 percentage points. We should try it out here, initially on a pilot basis. The idea is: if you work hard, we’ll help you move out of poverty and make a decent living in Maryland.

Address the longstanding problems of stagnant wages and economic mobility for low and moderate income Marylanders by:

  • Providing high-quality job training to every young adult who wants to advance. We’d do this by creating a public-private partnership in which the state covers the cost of job training, and employers provide internships to give people real-world experience and help them land full-time, well-paying jobs. The training would be based on programs like one I helped bring to Silver Spring and another (operating in other states) that increased earnings of people who participated by 20-40% per year. Imagine what an extra $5,000-$8,000 per year would do for working families in Maryland!
  • Supporting English language learners entering the workforce. We should invest in programs that provide language instruction, career coaching, and job training and placement for residents with limited English language training. One such program, implemented in Massachusetts, reduced the unemployment rate by 7 points and increased earnings by 15%, compared to people who didn’t participate.

COVID laid bare the fragilities and inequities in Maryland’s prosperity. Our next governor needs to chart a course that ensures all Marylanders share in the recovery.

My mother was a special education teacher in public schools. When I was young, she taught me how to read and instilled in me a love of learning. I also had the benefit of attending excellent Maryland public schools, the same ones my kids attended. I want every child in our state to have the same strong start in life – a great education and extra support when they need it. 

School should be a rich and rewarding experience for all students, one where they thrive academically, are supported socially and emotionally, and graduate with the skills they need to succeed in life and become engaged members of their communities.

We have work to do to achieve that goal. More than ¼ of Maryland middle school students can’t read at a basic competency level, and more than ⅓ can’t do basic math. The learning losses due to COVID have compounded these problems. In addition, achievement gaps between white and Black students in Maryland are higher than in most other states, depriving too many students the opportunity to pursue their college or career aspirations.

To improve our educational system, it’s not enough to just invest more money in schools and school programs. We need to invest our money in programs shown to be effective.

Over the past 20 years, I’ve played a central role in identifying and expanding proven-effective education programs – through my work with the Obama Administration and Congress to enact evidence-based education reforms into law, my service on the National Board for Education Sciences, and my work as a leader at a national philanthropy. 

As governor, I would bring a bold approach to improving K-12 education by funding programs tested and shown to improve student outcomes and reduce racial and income achievement gaps.

My education plan will:

  • Create a Statewide Tutoring Corps to provide high-quality tutoring to every struggling first and second grader in Maryland. One of the most effective ways to boost students’ reading and math performance – and address COVID-related learning loss – is tutoring. High-quality tutoring provided in early elementary school helps struggling students move up toward grade level before their problems become more serious in later grades. To create this new program, we would recruit people throughout the community – including retirees and recent college graduates – to become tutors for a modest stipend as a public service. You can read more about my plan in my op-ed in Education Post.
  • Expand Career Academy programs in high schools. To ensure Maryland has a highly-trained workforce to fill well-paying jobs and power the state’s economic success, my administration will expand Career Academy programs in high schools across the state. Career Academies are small learning communities within high schools that provide hands-on technical and career training to participating students, and have been shown to increase their long-term earnings by an average of $2,500 per year. Today, students in places like Howard County have access to such programs, allowing them to gain college credit and/or industry certification and earn higher wages long after they graduate. By expanding such Career Academy programs, we will ensure students from all backgrounds have the skills to succeed in the workforce and contribute to a thriving Maryland economy.
  • Expand high-quality public charter schools like KIPP. My administration will expand public charter school models with a proven record of increasing student achievement. KIPP, for example, is a non-profit network of college-preparatory, public charter schools that serve a mainly low-income and minority population. Independent research has shown that KIPP schools substantially boost academic achievement and college enrollment for these students. While not all charter schools will meet the high bar for expanded funding, those that can demonstrate meaningful improvements in student outcomes will receive the resources to serve many more students.
  • Offer “Learning Accounts” to low-income 10th graders, providing up to $10,000 in financial aid for college if they do well in high school. This program will deposit money in students’ accounts as they meet certain benchmarks – $2,500 after they complete 10th grade, $2,500 after they complete 11th grade, and $5000 after they graduate from high school. Students can then use the accumulated funds to help pay for college. When tested in Canada, this program increased both the high school and college graduation rates by a remarkable 7 percentage points. We should try Learning Accounts in Maryland, initially on a pilot basis, and expand it if successful.

Let’s do what works to improve education in Maryland.

Every Marylander deserves a safe place to live, work, and raise a family. Although our state experienced a major drop in violent crime from the mid-1990s to 2014, we’ve seen no progress since then and even a reversal in Baltimore and surrounding areas. Baltimore is now on track to see its 7th straight year with over 300 homicides – levels not seen since the crime wave of the 1990s. And Maryland now has the 11th highest rate of violent crime in the nation.

Maryland needs a leader who can act urgently and swiftly to halt this alarming trend. When I’m governor, my violence prevention plan would (1) identify the most promising strategies from around the country for stopping violent crime; (2) work with local officials to tailor them to local needs; (3) implement and rigorously test them to see which are most effective; and (4) expand the ones shown to work. Importantly, these strategies must be coordinated with Maryland’s ongoing police reform efforts, as reducing racial bias in policing is key to increasing community trust and reducing crime. Here are examples of promising programs we should implement, test, and expand if successful:

  • Focused Deterrence – This strategy, recently adopted in Baltimore by Mayor Scott and Police Chief Harrison, is based on highly promising results obtained in Oakland and other cities. Recognizing that a relatively small number of individuals (e.g., repeat violent offenders and gang members) commit most violent crimes, the program invites them to meet with community leaders, social service agencies, and law enforcement. The meetings offer positive support, such as jobs and counseling, while also making clear that continued violence will prompt a strong, focused response from law enforcement. 
  • Baltimore City Drug Treatment Court – This voluntary program seeks to reduce recidivism among adults convicted of non-violent, drug-related offenses by offering drug abuse treatment services following their conviction while keeping them under intensive supervision. It has been found to produce long-term reductions in arrests and convictions of more than 30%.
  • Prison Therapeutic Community – This strategy creates a separate community within a prison for inmates with drug problems scheduled for release, provides counseling for up to a year after release, and is staffed by highly committed role models of recovering substance abusers. When tested in California, this type of program reduced the rate of reincarceration by 9%. 
  • Interventions for At-Risk Youth – Certain therapies for youth at risk of gang involvement and criminal behavior – specifically, Functional Family Therapy and Multisytemic Therapy – have been found to be very promising, reducing criminal activity by 35% or more in some cases. However, I do not support Baltimore’s planned expansion of Roca – a behavioral change program for high-risk youth – until results of the recently-completed evaluation of this program in Massachusetts are publicly released, so we can gauge its success.

Keeping our neighborhoods safe must be a top priority. When I’m governor, we’ll reduce violent crime in our state with programs that are tested and proven to work.