Thursday, June 25, 2009

From Color of Change

Color of Change website:

Dear Friends,

President Obama is trying to reform our broken health care system, which has left more than 45 million Americans uninsured[1] and millions more with insurance that won't provide the treatment they need.[2]

Some in Congress are with Obama. But the insurance industry, with help from Republicans[3] and so-called centrist Democrats,[4] is leading the charge to kill a key part of his plan -- a government-run insurance plan that would increase the number of Americans covered, called the "public option." Industry groups are spending millions -- $35 million in lobbying costs alone[5] -- to convince people that they won't be able to choose their doctor, that government will be making their medical decisions, that they'd be forced to take the government's plan, and that the plan is part of some socialist plot -- all lies. In reality, the insurance industry is trying to protect its enormous profits on the backs of everyday people.

For Black folks, the stakes couldn't be higher: we are twice as likely as Whites to be uninsured, we have more than double the rate of infant mortality, we face more than twice the rate of diabetes-related deaths than Whites -- and the list goes on.[6]

While the fight rages in Washington, our voices are simply not at the table. That's why I've joined in telling Congress that every person in this country should have equal access to affordable health care, regardless of race, income, or any other factor. Will you join me? It only takes a moment:

Americans understand the idea of the public option and overwhelmingly support it -- three out of four people want the federal government to offer insurance coverage.[7,8] But powerful lobbying groups like America's Health Insurance Plans, Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America, and the American Medical Association -- representing the insurance industry, the drug industry, and doctors -- are doing everything in their power to maintain the status quo.[9]

Several organizations have pushed back, including -- a key partner of ours in this fight -- but it will take all of us standing up if we want to win.

A public option makes sense for the country as a whole, and it makes particularly good sense for Black folks. Many of us make too much to qualify for Medicaid but either aren't eligible for or aren't adequately covered by private, employer-based plans. Overall, 21% of Blacks are uninsured, compared to 12% of Whites.[10]

We need a public insurance option, but that's not the only thing we should be fighting for. We need to push for equity in all aspects of our approach to health care. Every community deserves quality medical treatment, research and resources. That's not what we're getting now, and the numbers prove it:

  • 22% of Black women say cost keeps them away from the doctor's office, compared to 15% of White women [11]
  • Black women have the highest rates of new AIDS cases, cancer mortality, obesity and low-weight infants of any ethnic or racial group [12]
  • There are 13.6 Black infant deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to 5.7 White infant deaths per 1,000 live births [13]
  • There are 47 Black deaths from diabetes-related illness per 100,000 people, compared to 22.5 White deaths per 100,000 people [14]
  • There are 60.1 new AIDS cases per 100,000 people among Blacks, compared to 6.7 new cases per 100,000 people among Whites [15]
Our opportunity to address the disparities that keep too many of us from enjoying long, healthy lives is now.

Please join me in telling our lawmakers that the first step toward improving our health care system is including a public plan that makes good health something everyone can afford:



10. See #6
12. Ibid.
13. See #6
14. Ibid.
15. Ibid.

Additional resources:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Iran, USA and Twitter

In the past weeks much has happened on Twitter with and about the Iranian elections.

if Many of us greened our avatars in support of Iranians and we also commented on what might have happened if Twitter had existed in 2000 or 2004. Imagine the outpouring of tweets about the stolen election in Florida, the lack of backbones in democrats who refused to stand up to boss bush and his legal threat team in Florida.

If we had had more support and a way to communicate quickly - maybe the world would be very different right now [or maybe not] - we'll never know.

And 2004 - what if we had been able to tweet about Ohio all day - the election problems there - missing ballots, early closing, lack of machines when it was known they would be needed, long lines and hacked black boxes - with UberRepug Ken Blackwell in charge of the Ohio voting!

We would not have wanted interference from other countries - but we would have welcomed the emotional support and proxies had the bush admin shut down some ISPs or whatever it is the Iranian government is doing!

We could have take the the streets and still been in touch via our cell phones - limited as they were back then.

So why is Iran happening? I think the citizens there saw what happened here with 8 years of bush corruption, cronyism and lack of oversight of anything.

They saw the havoc that bush wrought with his additional 4 stolen years and they don't want 4 more years of Ahmadinejad...

The USA serves as an example of what happen you calmly accept fraudulent elections and allow corruption and illegality to go on unabated. Negative examples are as powerful learning tools as positive ones.

The world is still paying for our 8 years and Iranians look at us and do not wish to add to the mess in the world.