I'm fighting to make sure everyone has quality, affordable health care.
I know what it's like to live without health care. For me, it's deeply personal.
My dad was a carpenter. He had a 4th grade education, worked hard, but died from a preventable heart condition when I was 6 years old, because he was poor and couldn't afford health insurance.
That economic injustice thrust my mom and I into an economic nightmare that left me living in the streets, in a group home, and on and on.
That should never happen in America. But that health care horror and income inequality is as real today as it was 45 years ago.
I've spent my life trying to right that wrong.
In Annapolis, I took on the insurance companies who denied care, and won. I’ve passed new laws that ban genetic discrimination (HB29), expand cancer coverage for first responders (SB1099), and advance end-of-life care and options for seniors (SB790 and SB442). I authored the landmark law that guarantees paid rest breaks for retail workers (HB1099), and created the first funding formula for the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (SB419). When seniors needed their long-term care benefits, but the Maryland Insurance Commissioner approved the maximum rate increases, year after year, I called him to the mat, then introduced fiscally rational legislation (SB176) to finally freeze premium rates. And in 2008, I stood a door away from President Obama’s Oval Office and crafted provisions of the largest health care expansion since Medicare – because we knew that health care is a right for Americans.
For my efforts, I'm proud to have been named "Legislator of the Year" for increasing Medicaid pediatric funding, and to have received the "Distinguished Legislative Service Award" from The National Federation of the Blind, and the "Legislative Achievement Award" from the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF Local 1664, AFL-CIO).
We've made a lot of progress, but our work will continue until every single Marylander has Medicare for All, the “single-payer” universal health care system that leaves no one out.