By David Mark Greaves
The Affordable Care Act is a good step forward, but the underlying problem of its complexity is that it is not a single-payer, health care system. If it were, there would be no need for plans, navigators or exchanges, these are in place to keep HMOs in the role of “middleman” between patient and doctor. Ideally, a person goes to a health provider, presents an identity card and receives care. The patient’s dollars, whether taxed or direct, would not have to pay for the health company trucks and their table-tenders, the area managers, the regional managers, profits for shareholders, all of the CEOs and their salaries plus options. All of that would be gone the way of the buggy whip and the country can take a financial sigh of relief.
Until that time, however, we will endure the concerns of a start-up with the enviable dilemma of how to service the overwhelming demand for their program. This time will pass, these glitches will be solved and as more and more people of all political parties sign up, the anti-ACA industry will start to lose donations and Republicans are going to face competitors not only from their conservative right wing, but from a more moderate side in their party primaries. Democrats should stop playing defense, seize on the popularity of the program and push for the next steps toward Universal Health Care.
The PBS series, “The African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross: The Black Atlantic” (1500-1800), gets off on the wrong foot and stumbles forward after that. Series host and writer Henry Louis Gates, Jr. starts with “The Africans crossed these waters with the first European explorers”. Perhaps so, but prior to that, Africans had crossed those waters on their own. They did not need the Europeans to take them. Dr. Ivan Van Sertima and his extensive research on “Africans in the Americas before Columbus” prove this. Only the constraints of space prevents us from printing, yet again, the 8 pages of graphics and text first appearing in Our Time Press in October and November of 1997 demonstrating Van Sertima’s arguments with citations.
Professor Gates stumbles again on the subject of sex. While he does say that captured women were regarded as there for the taking by the crew of the ships during the Middle Passage voyage, he does not even suggest, at least in this segment, that the raping of enslaved African women continued for the hundreds of years of enslavement producing not only pleasure but profit for the owners, as any offspring increased his slave assets. And if confirmation of the extent of the sexual rampage is needed, one need only look at the café au lait complexion of Mr. Gates himself standing next to Africans on the continent, or walk down an American street and pay attention to the range of skin colors from dark brown to almost white, that shade the millions of Africans-in-America that is the legacy of the pain and savagery that African women were subjected to throughout slavery. Perhaps that history will be covered in the next episode.
“Africans built this country”, rightly declares one of the historians in the series. And graphics are shown of towns and cities, including Washington, D.C., being built by African labor. But instead of seeing Gates eating soul food and talking like he’s one of the brothers, and talking about how the mixing of cultures has been good for us, better the time was spent showing how the money made from stealing the land from the indigenous people and the labor from the slaves not only built the towns and roads and made owners wealthy, but also financed the government, capitalized the banks and created wealth far removed from the plantation fields. Again, perhaps this part of the slavery history, only touched on in this first episode, will be more fully explored next week.