1) Urge your legislators to support HB 463/SB 172,
2) Sign up for our email list to receive action alerts.
4) Spread the word through social media and email using the Communications Toolkit (updated 02/04/21)
All Marylanders deserve access to high-quality, affordable health care. However, health inequities based on race, ethnicity, disability, and place of residence persist throughout the state, as shown in maternal and infant mortality rates and other measures. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed these health inequities and highlighted the need to address them and otherwise improve health outcomes in our state. In underserved areas of the state, people with chronic conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, and substance and mental health disorders have worse health outcomes and are less able to get the care and treatment they need.
Health Equity Resource Communities
Our coalition is advocating for HB 463/SB 172 so that Maryland will create and fund Health Equity Resource Communities to help reduce health inequities. The Communities will provide grants, tax incentives, and health care provider loan repayment assistance to locations in the state with poor health outcomes that contribute to health inequities. They will will be modeled after the successful 2012-2016 Health Enterprise Zones Program which successfully increased access to health resources, improved residents’ health, reduced hospital admissions, and created cost savings. Supporting health will help reduce preventable hospital admissions, which will result in lower overall health care costs, including lower insurance premiums for everyone.
Increase Alcohol Tax
We support funding the Health Equity Resource Communities through a one cent per dollar increase in the state alcohol beverage sales tax. In 2011 our Coalition successfully advocated for the 2011 Maryland alcohol tax increase, which in addition to funding the Health Enterprise Zones Program also led to significant reductions in underage drinking, binge drinking, driving under the influence, and sexually transmitted infections. Since then, Maryland’s alcohol tax rate has fallen behind Washington D.C. and the funding for the Zones Program has sunset. Raising the state’s alcohol beverage sales tax in 2021 will generate necessary funds to create and provide continuous funding to the Health Equity Resource Communities and also create more community-based prevention, treatment, and recovery support programs to address substance use and mental health disorders. It will also reduce drinking, including by underage Marylanders and heavy drinkers, which in turn will save lives and reduce health care costs.
- Coalition partners as of 02/26/21 (Full List, Logo Flyer)
- Communications Toolkit (updated 02/04/21)
- Chart on health disparities
- New study on pilot health outcomes, study on cost savings
- Poll shows public support
- Fact sheet on alcohol taxes and public health
- Setting the record straight: Responses to arguments made by the alcohol lobby
- News Media
Last modified: September 17, 2020