Md. can set health care ex­am­ple

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE - John Sar­banes, Tow­son The writer, a Demo­crat, rep­re­sents Mary­land’s 3rd Con­gres­sional Dis­trict and serves on the House Sub­com­mit­tee on Health.

Mered­ith Cohn’s ar­ti­cle, “Bal­ti­more City Health Depart­ment un­veils plan to ad­dress health dis­par­i­ties” (Aug. 30), calls at­ten­tion to a crit­i­cal is­sue that af­fects too many un­der­served com­mu­ni­ties in cities like Bal­ti­more. We are long over­due for a na­tion­wide ef­fort to re­duce the dis­par­i­ties that ex­ist in the de­liv­ery of health care — es­pe­cially for low-in­come and mi­nor­ity pop­u­la­tions which ex­pe­ri­ence dis­pro­por­tion­ately high cases of dis­ease, re­ceive a lower qual­ity of care and face sev­eral bar­ri­ers to ac­cess­ing care.

I ap­plaud the Bal­ti­more City Health Depart­ment’s lead­er­ship on this is­sue and be­lieve that with fed­eral sup­port, we can make mean­ing­ful strides. In Congress, we must con­tinue to bring to­gether pub­lic and pri­vate stake­hold­ers in an ef­fort to ad­dress health dis­par­i­ties. That is why I’ve joined with the Univer­sity of Mary­land and the Big Ten Aca­demic Al­liance in host­ing a roundtable on Sept. 8 fea­tur­ing lead­ers from fed­eral, state and pri­vate in­dus­try about the dis­par­i­ties in our health care sys­tem and how we can im­prove health eq­uity in our coun­try.

No state is more uniquely po­si­tioned to elim­i­nate health care dis­par­i­ties than Mary­land. The di­ver­sity of our state, com­bined with our unique re­sources like the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health, the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion, the Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity and the Univer­sity of Mary­land — along with many cutting-edge med­i­cal clin­ics and ad­vo­cacy or­ga­ni­za­tions — present Mary­land with an op­por­tu­nity to lead the na­tion in im­prov­ing the qual­ity of care for all Amer­i­cans.

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