Thank you very much, Vinny DeMarco… We have County Executives, we have [Maryland State] Legislators, we have Members of Congress and Senators on this phone call. Vinny, thank you very much for your leadership and your passion and your energy that you have brought to this effort.
Today I brought to the House Floor the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act. This important legislation will strengthen the Affordable Care Act, and ensure more Marylanders have access to quality, affordable health care.
With its disproportionate impact on people of color, the coronavirus pandemic has raised awareness of long-standing health disparities among African Americans and other minority communities in Maryland.
The University of Maryland Medical System continues to play a critical leadership role in mobilizing and coordinating our state’s existing public health infrastructure and in developing new capabilities to respond to the greatest public health crisis in a generation.
We are pleased that the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, signed into law on April 24, 2020, included $11 billion for states, localities, territories, and tribes for necessary expenses to develop, purchase, administer, process, and analyze COVID-19 tests.
Coronavirus testing is now available to all Marylanders with a valid form of identification (such as a driver’s license, passport, or Social Security card), and you do not need to exhibit symptoms to get tested.
Since the Maryland Department of Health began collecting and publicly releasing race, ethnicity, and zip code level data on Maryland cases of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the data has clearly demonstrated that the virus is having a disproportionate impact on communities of color, specifically Black and Hispanic residents of our state.