- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 27, 2015

BALTIMORE — Rep. Elijah E. Cummings says he believes affordable health care for all Americans is an achievable goal, and cites President Obama’s signature law as a good start.

Addressing an audience of hundreds of people Saturday at the Chase Brexton Charm Ball, the longtime Maryland Democrat said the “first step was the Affordable Care Act. We must be clear to not mistake a comma for a period.”

The ball — which also was attended by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, “Glee” star Kevin McHale and 300 guests — was a fundraiser to support the Chase Brexton Health Care Hardship Fund, which supplements health care coverage for those who cannot afford it. The event was held at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park in Baltimore.

“Universal health care is my goal,” said Mr. Cummings, who is rumored to be considering a run for the U.S. Senate. “It has been more than three decades since I first entered public life, and from the beginning, I have been inspired by all the people who [say] that affordable health care for everyone is a fundamental part of a civil society.”

Mr. Cummings pointed to medical advances that have assured that those even afflicted with HIV, once considered a veritable death sentence, are now living with “a manageable chronic condition.”

“Thousands of our neighbors have survived and thrived as a result,” he said.

SEE ALSO: HHS: Number insured under Obamacare swells to 17.6 million

The 10-term congressman received the group’s Leadership Award citing his ongoing work to bring about “universal health care in our lifetime.”

“I will put this on my desk in Washington,” said Mr. Cummings, whose congressional district includes Baltimore.

Mr. McHale, who portrayed a paraplegic student in Fox-TV’s musical dramedy “Glee,” was bestowed the Man of Vision Award.

“They’re helping people who really need it and may not be able to get it and afford it,” he said before receiving the award. “And it’s a nice idea to support an organization like that.”

Singer-actress Connie Stevens was presented with the American Legend Award for her ongoing efforts to help out the neediest. Miss Stevens said she was particularly inspired by Pope Francis’ recent visit to the U.S.

“I think it’s such a great change where people actually pay attention to [his message] and be more compassionate,” Miss Stevens said.

Actress CCH Pounder was given a lifetime achievement award for her advocacy on behalf of HIV/AIDS awareness, as well as her ongoing support for education in poorer African communities. Ms. Rawlings-Blake gave the trophy to the actress.

The final awardee of the event was singer/actress Thea Gill, who starred on Showtime’s “Queer as Folk.” Miss Gill was presented the Advocate Award for her ongoing campaign to raise awareness for LGBT issues.

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