LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — "Put People First Pa." held an outdoor story-sharing event on Sept. 19 at Locust Park in Columbia to bring awareness to the health care crisis in South Central Pennsylvania.
Many attendees shared their health care experiences to highlight the issues they feel need to be addressed; the group says Medicaid enrollment has spiked to over 80 million people, up from just over 71 million at the beginning of the pandemic.
Put People First Pa. says Columbia has the highest percentage of poor and low-income people in the county after Lancaster City at 44.6%. Recently, they undertook research on poverty and inequality in Lancaster County partnering with Franklin and Marshall College.
Organizers say health care should be a basic human right.
"Here we're doing food stamps and Medicaid benefits," co-coordinator Terrel Turner said. "This is something that we determined long ago was a social contract where we will all pay taxes into a system that helps people when they need it and the fact that people are having trouble getting those things or even to a greater extent, what they need that goes beyond these systems, is what we're here for and it's really important to me that people are taken care of."
The event was one of many across Pennsylvania from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh that started on Sept. 13; the event was part of a nationwide week of action, organized by the nonviolent Medicaid army, pushing for the right to health care for all.
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