Public Citizen Urges Harris County to Support Medicare for All

Statement of Elizabeth Slomba, Public Citizen’s East Harris County organizer

November 30th, 2021

Hello Judge and Commissioners. My name is Elizabeth Slomba and I am a resident of Houston’s Historic Second Ward, and Precinct 2. I am also the East Harris County Organizer for Public Citizen.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to speak.

Today, I speak in alliance with the Harris County Medicare for All Resolution group, as they have recently circulated a petition with over 200 signatures calling on the Harris County Commissioners Court to pass a resolution in support of federal Medicare for All legislation. The petition also calls on U.S. Representatives Sylvia R. Garcia and Lizzie Fletcher to sign on as co-sponsors of the bill.

In my work at  Public Citizen supporting communities along the Ship Channel, I have become aware of the health hazards Houstonians and Harris County residents are exposed to via pollutants, and the long term side effects on residents’ health. These pollutants are a major contributor  to Harris County’s shocking  asthma prevalence rate of nearly 9%. More than 96,000 pediatric asthma cases are diagnosed- in Harris County each year, and the county also has the highest number of uninsured children anywhere in the country. About 195,000 Harris County children, or 15% of the total child population, are uninsured.

By passing a resolution in support of Medicare for All, the local Harris County government can help to shape the national public narrative and build the political will needed to declare healthcare for everyone as a matter of right.

Sources:

  1. https://data.census.gov/cedsci/table?q=Harris%20County,%20Texas%20Health&tid=ACSST1Y2019.S2701
  2. https://publichealth.harriscountytx.gov/Services-Programs/All-Programs/One-Breath-At-A-Time