Even before the economic downturn caused by the pandemic and subsequent job losses, more than 1 million Harris County residents were uninsured and 4.5 million Texans, including 800,000 children, were uninsured. Unfortunately, these uninsured figures are among the highest rate in the nation.
One thing this pandemic has made perfectly clear is that our community is only as healthy as our most vulnerable residents. When health care insurance is tied to our employment, our neighbors have reduced access to preventive care and medical providers. Without access, chronic health problems -- such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes -- are exacerbated. County residents, especially communities of color that have for decades faced systemic racial, gender and economic inequality, are the hardest hit.
However, community health is not just about insurance. Reducing existing health disparities is tied to many factors that keep improved health outcomes out of reach. We need to take a holistic approach to health care. At Precinct One, we are addressing the health crisis by pursuing policies and providing health resources that ensure everyone has the opportunity to attain their highest level of health. We are addressing and reducing social disparities related to wealth, environment (air and water quality), educational attainment, housing, and intersectional considerations like race, gender and other social factors.
Additionally, our community becomes healthier by working to eliminate food deserts so all residents have access to fresh food; providing safer transportation options like building sidewalks and offering lower-cost transportation options such as biking; and supporting the adoption of better worker protections like paid sick and family leave.