Alcohol Tax Proposed to Decrease Health Disparities in Md.

A recent Rand Corp. report highlighting Prince George’s County summarized how residents in communities inside the Beltway such as Suitland have lower incomes, experience a decrease in population and adult primary-care physicians and specialists operate near county hospitals outside the Beltway.

In contrast, residents who live in neighborhoods and municipalities such as the city of Greenbelt have higher incomes and growing populations.

Del. Jazz Lewis (D-District 24) of Glenarden gave a startling statistic: there’s a 16-year life expectancy gap between Suitland and Greenbelt. In other words, people who live in Suitland may die sooner.

“As a basic principle, that should mean that everyone gets high quality, affordable health care no matter where they live, no matter their zip code,” he said. “It’s time for us to expand access to quality care now.”

That’s why Lewis and his fellow District 24 partner, Del. Erek Barron, are pushing for legislation increase the state’s alcohol tax from nine percent to 10 percent.

The goal would be for the money to establish grants toward health coverage, community outreach efforts, substance abuse programs and other societal needs in underserved communities.

With the county’s new regional medical center in Largo scheduled to open this spring, Barron


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