HEALTHCARE

Universal Healthcare

Everyone needs healthcare coverage. It makes no sense for someone to have her or his coverage dependent on their employment status and there is no logical reason why a company should manage its own business and be concerned with the medical care of its employees.

A statewide universal system would ensure that all residents are covered. Not only would this be key to fighting chronic disease, addiction, and premature death, but it would substantially reduce costs and increase efficiency by spreading costs and risks across the greatest possible number of people and by getting for-profit companies out from between you and your doctor.

Because of Maryland’s all-payer system, which allows the state to set prices for hospitals, we are well-poised to become the first state in the country to adopt a universal healthcare system—where everyone is covered via payroll tax, without co-pays, premiums, or deductibles.

Prescription drug prices

We need drug price transparency so pharmaceutical companies must report why they are charging so much and justify price hikes on existing drugs. As doctor, I fought to pass Maryland’s first-in-the-nation law against generic prescription drug price gouging. The next step after taking office is to expand the law to cover name-brand drugs as well.

Drugs, Diabetes, and Chronic Illness

The current opioid epidemic is killing people young and old, black and white, urban, suburban, and rural. Fortunately, our society has grown more understanding during this current crisis, but we should all remember that much of that compassion stems from the fact that many of today's victims are White. When illicit opiates and crack cocaine ripped through Black neighborhoods from the last days of Vietnam to the 1990s, there was no such compassion. While we cannot go back in time to teach past generations to be more understanding, we can use this current outpouring of compassion to help our fellow citizens of all races as they deal with addiction.

Treating drug abuse is more effective and less expensive than relegating its victims to a broken and ill-equipped criminal justice system. When we finally treat addiction as the medical condition and public health crisis that it is, we can restore people to their status as contributing, productive members of our society while preventing the suffering and waste of taxpayer funds that are inherent to the prison system.

While Baltimore is dealing with yet another epidemic of addiction, we are also facing an epidemic of obesity and the countless chronic illnesses it brings, from diabetes to heart disease. Obesity in Baltimore is not merely a question of poor personal choices; it is a result of segregation and deprivation, where entire neighborhoods are denied access to healthy food, fresh vegetables, and recreation. Some parts of our district are blessed with organic markets, while others have more liquor stores than pieces of fresh fruit.

By promoting urban agriculture, farmers' markets, health education programs - and by expanding the Maryland Fresh Food Financing Initiative - we bring nutritious food to people in desperate need and prevent chronic conditions before they begin. These simple steps are inexpensive to implement and their benefits are undeniable.

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