Last week in a unanimous decision, Prince George’s became the first county in Maryland to pass a historic resolution in support of H.R. 1976 — The Medicare For All Act of 2021. H.R. 1976 is currently co-sponsored by 115 Democrats in the House, including Congressman Anthony Brown, who represents a large portion of Prince George’s County. Activists, working under the umbrella of the Maryland Progressive Healthcare Coalition and local elected officials testified before the Council in support of the resolution earlier in April.

According to the resolution, “the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the racial disparities in healthcare … [and] revealed the deep fissures of an employment-based health care system.” Only a Medicare for All system can provide the needed healthcare security to Prince George’s County residents and businesses. The Council said Medicare for All “would reduce County spending on healthcare and enable local governments across our state to invest additional dollars into education, environmental protection, housing assistance, and other critical services.”

“Prince George’s has the highest rate of uninsured and underinsured residents in Maryland and it is among the counties most affected by COVID-19. The pandemic has made it clear that healthcare must not be tethered to employment and only Medicare For All can guarantee lifelong healthcare to all Marylanders,” said Celina Benitez (Council Member and Mayor-Elect, City of Mt. Rainier).

“We must move away from a system of employer-based coverage where intermediaries stand to profit from the denial of benefits. Medicare for All would be one of the largest victories for workers rights in the history of this country,” said Raymond Jackson, President of Local 689 of the Amalgamated Transit Union.

“This resolution urges that health care be treated as a public good available to all, in the same way that highways, schools, clean air and water, are available to all and in calling for support from Maryland’s Congressional delegation, it also sends a strong and clear message to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who represents significant portions of Prince George’s County,” said Kristy Fogle, Founder of the MDPHC.

“With leadership comes responsibility. Why is the Majority Leader still standing with the minority of House Democrats on this issue? We call on House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer to join Maryland Congressmen Brown, Mfume, Raskin and Sarbanes and co-sponsor H.R. 1976. Profits should not continue to be prioritized over the people of Prince George’s”, said Suchitra Balachandran, Chair of Our Revolution Prince George’s.