Advocates seek a universal primary care system for Prince George’s Co. residents without health insurance

What a universal primary care program might look like. Cathryn Paul of CASA explains

Prince George’s County has the highest number of uninsured people in Maryland, some 10.3% of the population, and a new coalition aims to change that.

The Care For All Coalition includes advocacy groups, such as the Prince George’s County NAACP; some local clinics and health providers; and unions such as 1199SEIU. They’re working together to figure out how to get a universal primary care system that would include the uninsured in Prince George’s County.

“What we’re doing now is meeting with legislators, letting them know what we’re hearing on the ground from our community members,” said Cathryn Paul, the government relations and public policy manager at community organization CASA.

Paul said the pandemic put a spotlight on disparities experienced by communities of color, individuals who entered the country illegally, and immigrant communities. Roughly 1 in 3 Latino Prince Georgians were uninsured before the pandemic.

“We are literally losing community members because of lack of access to care,” Paul said. “Individuals should not have to choose between life and death because of the color of their skin, because of their immigration status.”

At the Coalition’s kickoff campaign, Prince George’s County Council member Deni Taveras (District-2) asked those gathered to keep faith.

“Because we will engage in this conversation. And I feel very confident that we will have the support that we need to get this out,” Taveras said.

If a draft proposal is introduced soon, Paul hopes that by the council’s late summer recess, a bill could be ready and introduced no later than September.

“There is not one member of the council that does not believe in getting primary care to every single Prince George’s resident,” Paul said.

Watch the kickoff below.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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