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Q&A: Will Congress Save Health Insurance Program for Low-Income Kids?


Ed. Note: Unless Congress acts, federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which matches state dollars to provide health coverage for children under 19 in low-income families, will end next year. Ed Walz is vice president of First Focus, a DC-based advocacy organization for children and families that focuses on federal policymaking. He spoke with NAM Reporter Anna Challet about the future of CHIP and the likelihood of Congress stepping in to preserve the program.

Who does CHIP provide health coverage for?

CHIP provides coverage for 8 million children or so throughout the course of the year who would otherwise be uninsured because their parents work and make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford the high cost of private insurance … Before CHIP, the uninsured rate among kids was about 15 percent. Today it’s about 7 percent. It’s essentially cut the uninsured rate among children in half.

With the Affordable Care Act now fully implemented, why is CHIP still necessary?

Kids who are covered by CHIP today would not all be able to get coverage through the ACA if CHIP were to go away … If it did go away, some of the kids would move into Medicaid, but it’s a relatively small number, in part because not every state has expanded Medicaid, but also because CHIP covers kids well in excess of the Medicaid expansion level. The ACA now requires that Medicaid expand to 138 percent of the federal poverty level in states that choose that option, but … CHIP covers kids much higher up the income scale. For example, in my home state of Wisconsin, it’s 250 percent of the federal poverty level.

If CHIP were to go away, the ACA wouldn’t pick [some] kids up because of what’s called the family glitch, or the children’s glitch. That has to do with a problem in the way the IRS implemented the tax subsidies for the exchanges [the state health insurance marketplaces created by the ACA]. Essentially it means that as many as 2 million kids who would otherwise qualify for exchange coverage won’t get the subsidies they need to make it affordable, so they won’t get insurance. Even in a post-ACA world, there’s not a coverage solution for all the kids who are currently in CHIP.

The other problem is that if kids do get exchange coverage, research shows that it won’t be as valuable or as good as the coverage they currently get through CHIP … At a national level, CHIP provides more than 80 percent of the child-specific care that kids need, while average exchange plans provide a little over half of that child-specific care. And at the same time, CHIP plans average less than $100 in out-of-pocket annual costs, whereas the average exchange plan would cost nearly $1000, so ten times the cost for less care.

What is the threat to CHIP right now?

Essentially there are two requirements for a government program to function. One, Congress has to authorize it, and give the agencies permission to run it. [Also] they have to fund it. There’s no requirement that they do those two things on the same schedule. So one of the weird things about where we are right now in the public policy around CHIP is that the federal government has the authority under law to run CHIP through 2019, but funding for CHIP runs out at the end of federal fiscal year 2015, which is the fiscal year we just started. So a year from now, in October 2015, funding for CHIP will end. That’s the real threat. The threat is that even though there might be authorization, there won’t be money, and that is the effective end of CHIP.

The challenge right now is when Congress will extend that funding. And it’s important that Congress act this year, because even though federal funding won’t technically end for another 11 months, the reality is that because CHIP is a federal-state partnership, the budget decisions that happen in the state capitals all over the country matter just as much as the budget debates in Washington. And those state budget debates are happening right now … So it’s important that Congress send a message this year that states can continue to count on federal CHIP funding.

At this point, does it look like Congress will do that?

CHIP is incredibly popular, and it has a strong track record of bipartisanship. So we’re hopeful and have reason to believe, based on our conversations with folks on Capitol Hill, that policymakers understand that CHIP still plays an important role … There’s momentum to get CHIP funding extended in the lame duck session this fall, so after the elections.

What will happen if they don’t?

The honest answer and the scary answer is that we don’t really know what will happen. It’ll vary from state to state, but what we can say is that when we’ve seen a similar problem in the past, the outcome has not been good for children.

California is unfortunately the poster child there. Back in 2009, when the CHIP agency in California ran into a state funding problem, they responded by establishing a waiting list. That meant that kids who were newly eligible for what was then called the Healthy Families program were not enrolled, and kids who were covered by Healthy Families but lost coverage for administrative reasons or for whatever reason then were not able to re-enroll … Even a year after the waiting list was lifted, the agency had only been able to return enrollment levels to 50,000 kids lower than when they put the waiting list in place … If you imagined similar reactions at the national level, it would literally put the health of millions of children at risk.

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Democrats Maintain Lead with Hispanic Voters


REDDING, CT — After more than a year of in-action by Congress and President Barack Obama on immigration reform, Democrats maintain a wide, but diminished, advantage among Hispanic registered voters, according to a new nationwide Pew Research Center survey of 1,520 Hispanic adults, including 733 registered voters.

In this year’s congressional elections, 57 percent of Latino registered voters support the Democratic candidate in their congressional district or lean Democratic, while 28% favor the Republican candidate or lean Republican, a greater than two-to-one advantage for Democrats. But support for congressional Democrats is down from 2010, when 65 percent of Latino registered voters backed the Democrat in their congressional district and 22 percent favored the Republican candidate.

On political party identification, 63 percent of Hispanic voters today say they identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, down from 70percent who said the same in 2012. And when asked which political party has more concern for Hispanics, 50 percent say the Democrats, down from 61 percent who said the same in 2012.

Meanwhile, Republicans have made some progress among Hispanic voters. About one-quarter or 27 percent today say they identify with or lean toward the Republican Party. In 2012, 22 percent said the same.

But Republican Party gains among Hispanic registered voters in terms of party identification do not extend to Hispanic voters’ views of the party. Just 10 percent say the Republican Party has more concern than the Democratic Party for Hispanics, unchanged since 2012. Instead, the share of Hispanic registered voters who say there is no difference between the two parties is up, to 35 percent today from 23 percent in 2012.

When asked who is responsible for the lack of immigration reform this year, almost half of Latino registered voters, or45 percent, place more blame on Republicans in Congress than congressional Democrats  or President Obama.

By contrast, among all Latinos, just as many blame Republicans  as blame either congressional Democrats  or President Obama.

The report, based on a survey conducted between Sept. 11 through Oct. 9 in English and Spanish on cellular as well as landline phones, is available at http://www.pewhispanic.org/2014/10/29/latino-support-for-democrats-falls-but-democratic-advantage-remains/.

 

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Radio Station to Host Last Gov. Debate


HARTFORD — Connoisseur Media’s 1029 DRC, 991 PLR and 95.9 the FOX morning show  “Chaz and AJ In The Morning,” will host the last Connecticut Gubernatorial debate less than 24 hours before the polls open in this dead heat race.

The debate, which will feature incumbent Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy and his Republican challenger Tom Foley, will take place live in studio and broadcast over the 3 signals on Nov. 3rd at 8:30am. Both Malloy and Foley will take questions from Chaz and AJ and listeners of the show.

“With the amount of undecided voters in a race that is a dead heat, this an incredibly important debate,” co-host Chaz says.  “It’s the very last impression voters will get of the candidates right before they pull the lever.”

“Chaz and Aj are the only show of this type in Connecticut,” says Connoisseur Media Connecticut Operations Manager Keith Dakin. “Governor debate one minute…shock collar trivia the next.”

The debate will be heard throughout the state on three of Connoisseur Media’s Connecticut FM stations.  WPLR 99.1 is a 50,000 watt FM Mainstream Rock Station licensed to New Haven, CT.   WFOX 95.9 is a 3,000 watt FM Classic Rock Station licensed to Stamford/Norwalk, CT.   WDRC 102.9 is a 50,000 watt FM Classic Hits Station licensed to Hartford, CT.

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Latino Workers Dying in Job Accidents, Report Shows


As Latino workers take on more and more of the nation’s toughest and dirtiest jobs, they increasingly are paying for it with their lives.

Preliminary federal figures released last week showed that of the 4,405 U.S. workers killed on the job in 2013, 797 were Latinos. That equates to 3.8 of every 100,000 full-time Latino employees in the U.S. dying in workplace accidents during the year.

The fatality rate for Latinos was up marginally from 3.7 per 100,000 workers in 2012, and was significantly higher than the 2013 fatality rates of 3.2 for whites, 2.9 for blacks and 1.5 for Asians.

Safety experts point to reluctance among many Latino workers, particularly immigrants, to protest job hazards. They commonly attribute the reluctance to language barriers or fears that complaining about working conditions will cost them their jobs or even lead to deportation.

In addition, worker advocates blame weak federal and state regulation and a trend of employers increasingly giving dangerous jobs to temporary workers, including some with little training.

Last year’s victims included Luis Rey Rivera Pavia, a 32-year-old machine helper for a Wire Mesh Sales LLC factory in Jacksonville, Fla., where most of the workers were Latino immigrants. Federal authorities said Rivera was killed in August when he tried to retrieve a metal bar that fell into a wire mesh manufacturing machine, and wound up being struck by a piece of the equipment.

While investigating the case, U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors discovered that two other workers previously suffered severe injuries on the same machinery. One worker had a limb amputated, and the other suffered a crushed forearm. David Michaels, OSHA’s chief, last week highlighted the Wire Mesh case when he outlined his agency’s adoption of new rules for reporting severe injuries, a change intended to help authorities better target their inspections.

He later added that immigrant workers “are vulnerable workers, and they often have the worst jobs.”

Another Latino worker killed on the job last year was Adan Sotelo Preciado, who died in September when he fell from the roof of a building at a construction site in Northville, S.D. He was helping build an addition to a warehouse when he stepped from the metal decking onto an unsupported patch of insulation, and plunged to the concrete floor 20 feet below.

Preciado, who was working for a company named Sierra Steel Buildings Inc., found the job through an ad on the Craigslist website. He received no training and wasn’t given a safety harness to guard against the risk of falls.

An OSHA report on accident said the employer “was fully aware of the hazards associated with steel erection.” Yet even after a company supervisor was notified of a near accident involving a worker who stepped through the insulation, “no corrective action was taken.”

In most workplace fatality cases, regardless of the race or ethnicity of the employees killed, regulatory penalties are light — a factor often noted by safety advocates. While OSHA has proposed unusually high fines of $697,700 from Wire Mesh, it imposed only $19,200 in penalties against Sierra Steel after citing the company for one willful and two serious violations, along with a lesser violation.

Likewise, OSHA proposed only $14,000 in penalties against Monarch Tower Inc. of Sarasota, Fla., after citing the company for two serious violations following the deaths of two cell tower workers. The employees plunged more than 200 feet to their deaths in a July 2013 accident near Belden, N.D.

Linda McCardle of Homerville, Ga., the mother of one of the victims, 25-year-old Zach Roberts, said the accident was devastating to her family. Her husband, Matthew McCardle, was working on the same tower, and witnessed his stepson’s fall. Shaken by the tragedy, Matthew McCardle only recently returned to work.

“He couldn’t deal with it,” Linda McCardle said of her husband. “He couldn’t go back to work, or talk to anybody about it.”

Linda McCardle remains uncertain about why her son’s safety harness failed. She said her son, who was married and the father of four children, “loved his job, and he was smart at it, real smart, and safety conscious.”

The preliminary job fatality figures, overall, were roughly in line with the annual totals for more than five years running. The preliminary figure of 4,405 reported last week for 2013 was up slightly from the 2012 preliminary figure of 4,383. But, every year as new reports of fatal job accidents trickle in, the numbers are revised upward. For 2012, the final figure rose by 245, to 4,628, by the time the final numbers were released in April. Even those so-called final numbers, however, are an undercount, because they exclude deaths from illnesses linked to the workplace, such as cancers associated with exposure to toxic chemicals.

The breakdown of the deaths by category also resembled the pattern of previous years. Transportation accounted for 40 percent of the deaths, followed by violence, including homicides, at 17 percent. Next came falls, slips and trips, at 16 percent, and contact with objects and equipment, also at 16 percent.

“There hasn’t been much change, which means that we’re not making the kind of progress that we need and, for some groups, things have gotten more hazardous,” said Peg Seminario, safety and health director for the AFL-CIO labor federation.

Myron Levin contributed to this story.

FairWarning
is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit investigative news organization focused on public health, safety and environmental issues.

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Letter: Tom Foley’s Bold-Face Lie


Dear Editor:

Tom Foley made several inaccurate statements in  recent gubernatorial debate  regarding home care workers and consumers. 

The collective bargaining agreement explicitly states that there will be no harm to consumer budgets and services. Both the public act and collective bargaining agreement state that no consumers shall suffer a reduction in services as a result of collective bargaining.

“Such a misrepresentation by Tom Foley is completely irresponsible.  It is a bold face lie to state that consumers are negatively affected because home care workers won the right to collectively bargain. It is explicitly stated in the public act and the collective bargaining agreement that consumers will not be negatively affected.  By allowing home care workers in Connecticut to collectively bargain we are starting to create a better paid and more stable workforce.  The people of Connecticut deserve the truth from their elected officials and Tom Foley made it clear in today’s debate he is incapable of that.  Both consumers and caregivers are benefited from the actions Governor Malloy and the state legislature took.  Governor Malloy  has helped Connecticut build a stronger workforce to care for the disabled and elderly,” spokesperson Jennifer Schneider said.

“Without my personal caregiver I wouldn’t be able to survive,” Margie Santana a Hartford consumer suffering from multiple sclerosis said.  “Tom Foley is out of touch with what people with disabilities in Connecticut need.  In no way have I been negatively impacted because my home care worker was able to collectively bargain.  Those of us suffering from disabilities  known that Governor Malloy has our best interest and has worked hard to help us have better care.”

The quality of home care that consumers receive can be affected by high turnover of caregivers. Turnover for home care workers ranges from 44 to 65 percent per year.[i]  This high turnover is primarily due to low pay and little to no benefits.

The annual turnover rate of the workforce fell 17 percent and the “bad turnover” rate fell by 30 percent after workers in San Francisco negotiated raises and better benefits, according to a study by the Center for Labor Education and Research at the University of California, Berkeley.[ii]

 

Jennifer Schneider

Communications Director

SEIU 1199, New England

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Hartford Guardian to Celebrate 10th Year Anniversary


HARTFORD —  The Hartford Guardian will kick off its 10th Year Anniversary celebration on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 at Aetna Insurance Building on Farmington Ave. in Hartford, CT.

The Luncheon under the theme, Building to Empower and Engage, will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to mark this significant milestone in the new media organization, which began in 2004 as a print publication.

Over the past decade, The Guardian has served individuals and families throughout the Greater Hartford area and beyond—disseminating untold stories, news and information that effect change on a local and national level.

The Guardian has won several notable recognitions and awards for its reporting, including the International Center for Journalists, Patch/AOL, Knight Center for Journalism New Media institute and the Hartford Magazine.

The Guardian was founded by Dr. Ann-Marie Adams, an award-winning journalist and historian. She has worked as a reporter and writer for The Hartford Courant, The Norwich Bulletin, Times Herald Record, People magazine, The Washington Post and other local and national publications. She teaches journalism and history, most recently at Quinnipiac University, Howard University and Rutgers University.

The Hartford Guardian was founded in 2004 to build communities through civic journalism. It is one of three programs by the Connecticut Alliance for Better Communities, Inc. CABC, Inc is a nonprofit organization established to encourage and increase civic engagement in Greater Hartford by (i) educating  residents about various social issues and services in Hartford, (ii) educating them about how government and media work, and (iii) offering opportunities to explore and engage in civic journalism.

For more information on how to become a sponsor or purchase tickets, email theguardian@thehartfordguardian.com. RSVP is required for seating and validated parking information.

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Q&A: Ebola and Africa’s Untold Stories


New America Media, Question & Answer, George White

Editor’s Note: As chair of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma directs the staff and the work of the African Union (AU), the alliance of nations on the continent. In that role, Dr. Zuma – a physician – manages AU initiatives on education, the environment, economic development and health. She is currently overseeing the deployment of AU volunteers to help halt the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the West African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. In an exclusive interview with New America Media in Los Angeles, she talked about the fight to contain Ebola, media coverage of Africa and the continent’s progress on the United Nations’ global Millennium Development Goals.

Please comment on the U.S. government’s response to Ebola. As you know, the U.S. is using military personnel to set up medical facilities in affected countries.

It would be great if the U.S. and other developed countries did more to help improve the health facilities in those countries. They need treatment centers … they need laboratory-testing facilities, they need protective clothing and they need more transportation [capacity] and personnel.

However, we need help beyond Ebola because we know now that a lot more people might die from illnesses that would not normally be fatal because there is so much focus on Ebola. Very few people in those countries are being treated for malaria or for injuries. We also need to strengthen the health systems in these countries so if there is another outbreak, there will be people ready to respond appropriately and quickly. We saw this kind of response when Nigeria addressed and contained its Ebola cases. Nigeria has strong institutions that mounted a strong public health response.

What about the role of the United Nations and the World Health Organization in this crisis and the future of health care in Africa?

The U.N. is now responding. It’s late but better than never… Everyone needs to up their game – particularly the World Health Organization and the U.N. because they have the global responsibility for outbreaks such as this. We also should not forget those who are on the ground who have been doing this work from Day One – the local health workers, the [African] governments, Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) and the Red Cross. We would like to express our appreciation to all of them … and to all the countries outside of Africa that have helped.

I think the world should look at the overall health situation in African nations. We are saying there should be universal health care for everyone in our countries. But some donor organizations think this is not very important for development and we think that is wrong… We think universal health care is very important. Of course, it won’t happen overnight but it has to be established as we grow and develop.

 Chair of the African Union Commission Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma answers questions about the Ebola outbreak and says more help is needed.

Chair of the African Union Commission Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma answers questions about the Ebola outbreak and says more help is needed.

Ebola has shown that you are going to get more than health effects from the outbreak; you’re also going to get social effects. Even more important, there are going to be economic effects if efforts to stop the outbreak fail – ships not docking to take material in and take material out, mines and factories closing or working at low levels and farmland not being worked … Health and education are the most important investments for economic growth; but this eludes some donors and some [government] ministers of finance.

The African Union Commission (AUC) had planned to host a forum for African immigrant media in the U.S. and African-American media to discuss the coverage of development issues at the recent U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington D.C. It was cancelled but the AUC has indicated that it still hopes to host such a meeting. Why is such a gathering needed?

I think it’s very important because we have seen that the coverage produced by media outside of Africa tends to be one-story line for a complex continent. Currently the storyline is Ebola and nothing else. In the past, the storyline was violent conflicts. It’s important for the media to tell the many stories that are there in Africa so that people can get a clearer indication of what is going on.

However, it is not likely we will get more balanced coverage from other people if we do not do it ourselves. That’s why we think it’s very important to encourage the journalists and communicators in the [African] diaspora to communicate what is going on in Africa. We’re not trying to hide anything or minimize anything but we want to tell all our stories because we have very good stories to tell. We know there are stories about difficulties but we also want other kinds of stories told.

Can you talk about your work on energy and global warming?

There’s a lot of activity around energy because we realize it’s needed if we are to industrialize to process our mineral wealth. However, we have decided that even though we have enough fossil fuels to generate energy, we want to take advantage new green technology and get a proper mix that will be both fossil fuels and renewable energy.

Africa is the continent that will suffer the most disproportionate impact of global warming because the continent is the smallest polluter. We must mitigate and adapt … With our huge tropical forests, Africa is the second lung of the world … and the Amazon is other major lung. We have to preserve these forests for ourselves and for the world. The developed countries have to come to the table. Hopefully, in Paris next year, there will be a binding international agreement on emissions.

The U.N. in 2000 created global Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on health, education, environmental sustainability and gender equality – objectives countries will be graded on in 2015. What will be the grades on the report cards of African nations?

Africa may not meet all the MDG goals … but Africa has made the greatest effort and has had the greatest improvement. In education, for example, a lot of the goals have nearly been reached. There are a lot more girls going to school. We have a campaign to keep the girls in school as long as possible because if we can keep them in school, they don’t get married early and they don’t get pregnant early.

As for the empowerment and participation of women, I think we are making real progress. There are a lot of women in [African] parliaments. The level in Rwanda has reached 64%, which is the world’s highest. Others, such as Seychelles and South Africa, have levels hovering in the 40s and 50s. Parliament is a high-profile institution and these women are role models for other young women. We are also beginning to see chief justices that are women and governors that are women.

What are the goals for the remainder of your term as head of the African Union Commission?

One of them is to help young people get the skills – especially in the areas of STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] – to create a skills revolution on the continent.

The other area is infrastructure. We would like to work toward an Africa that is one economic market and one aviation market because that will increase the number of internal flights within the continent so that we can be better connected and integrated. We also want to see the beginnings of real connections between our capitals and our commercial centers through rail, especially high-speed rail. We’re working toward eventually achieving a continental free-trade area. Even though this may not be achieved during my term, I can help plant the seeds of economic integration and see them grow when I’m gone.

Other News About Ebola:

CDC Says U.S. Should “Rethink” EBola Response

NIH Director Says Ebola Vaccine Would Have Likely Been Found It not for Budget Cuts

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Sen. Murphy to Travel to Eastern Europe


HARTFORD — Sen. Chris Murphy is expected to travel to Albania, Croatia, Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro next week.

Murphy announced his trip on Thursday, saying the aim is to ensure that the United States “strengthen the relationships” with these Eastern European countries. Murphy is Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs.

To help prepare for his trip, the junior senator also plans to meet with the Albania community in Waterbury tonight.

During his expected visit to begin Oct. 14, Murphy is expected to meet with government officials to stress the U.S.’s support of the Balkan region’s integration into the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Murphy will also meet with non-governmental organizations to discuss possible trade relationships with Connecticut, officials said. More specifically, he plans meet with Defense Ministers and American Business Chambers to discuss how Connecticut can trade goods to the region.

 

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Black Women “Sick and Tired” of Low Quality Healthcare, Infant Mortality


Editor’s Note: This article was made possible by the International Center for Journalists’ Community Health Reporting Fellowship and is a part of an ongoing series on Race, Gender and Medicine in America.

By Ann-Marie Adams

Connecticut has the highest infant mortality rate for black babies.

That’s according to the state’s own 2009 health disparities report, which reveals consistently higher infant mortality rates than white and Hispanic infants.

The infant mortality rate represents the number of deaths among babies under one year old per 1,000 births. The latest report shows the number of deaths for black babies between 2001 and 2005 was 314 or 13 percent compared to Hispanics with 251 or 6.5 percent, or Whites with 515 or 3.9 percent.

Dr_AnnMarie_AdamsNaturally, someone should ask why there’s such a high death rate among black babies in Connecticut. Is it caused by improper nutrients from food desserts in urban areas? Or is it a systematic attempt—unmitigated long after the infamous Tuskegee experiment—to harm black people in America? Many so-called Third World countries do not have such high infant mortality rates. So I’m leaning toward the latter, considering socio-economic factors that are already impacting the black family.

the-hartford-guardian-OpinionBefore you get your panties in a bunch, consider the history of race and medicine in America. If you do, you will contextualize the contemporary conditions and see that this is not an alarmist approach to scant evidence. It’s a singular theory based on American history and years of research that have produced enough facts to examine this crisis.

According to The Hartford Guardian’s own investigation of Greater Hartford-area hospitals, doctors are more willing to prescribe medications that damage black women’s reproductive organs. The atrocity of substandard healthcare for many black women can be in the form of benign neglect in a hospital emergency room to egregious malpractice such as forcing medications against will—a common and often criminal–practice at Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living. The most popular culprit is Risperidone, which seeps into breast milk and enlarges breasts.

Besides robbing many black women of their breast milk, Risperidone contributes to the mammification of the black woman’s body. It’s the most frightening side effect of this drug known to cause death. Similar steroidal and non-steroidal medications include cyclobenzprine, hydrocodon-acetaminophn, methylprednisolone, cogentin, gabapenten and haldol. Many cause hyper-lactatemia, a fancy word for inflating a woman’s breast with deadly toxins.
The problem is not just in Connecticut, however. This also occurs at the Maryland-based National Institutes of Health, where doctors recruit women to use experimental drugs that cause harm to their reproductive system and then send them off to deal with the later consequences of an unknown drug.
Black men also face similar harm with pills that decrease libido or contribute to erectile dysfunction. But this story about the health industry makes a sharp departure from the overall black experience when we look at the intersection of race, gender and medicine.

The syphilis experiment from 1932 to 1972 by the U.S. Health Service generated national outrage and is well-known around the world. The lesser known experiments of black women like Henrietta Lacks did not cause an uproar.

This makes me want to scream.

Consider this: Black women are more likely to die of heart failure, cancer, and other diseases because of deficient medical care. They are also more likely to have uterine fibroids, which are commonly associated with stress. The confluence of stressors is attributed to socio-economic conditions. For example, black women are three times more likely than white women to be unemployed. And though you have gender inequality among wage earners, black women earn 70 cents on the dollar for the same work as other workers.

Mental Health Series: African-Americans Negotiate Mental Illness

Perhaps President Barack Obama, who benefited from the overwhelming support of black women voters in 2008 and 2012, should consider implementing policies that mitigate centuries of medical abuses and character assassination of the black woman in America. Besides the medical maladies they face, most black women are considered angry—even if they wear pastel colors and glue their mouths shut.

The angry woman trope is laughable among the righteously discontented, who are now wondering when they will we see policies that have a direct impact on their lives in every sphere. Let’s deal with specificity. When will black women have equal access and opportunity?

Do they need to storm the White House to get Obama’s attention? With two years left in the White House, perhaps he should consider forming a task force of multi-ethnic black women who will attack these deficiencies in the health field and change the way health care is administered to them. Are these deficiencies factored into the web of policies linked to Obamacare, which supposedly gives Americans access to quality and affordable healthcare?

If single black women consist of 70 percent of black households that overwhelmed voting booths to elect the first black president, then we ought to see specific policies that address these constituencies—sooner rather than later.

Like Fannie Lou Hamer who helped reshape the Democratic Party in the 1960s, some of us black women are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Mental Health Series: Reclaiming Black Men’s Mental Health

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams the founder and editor of The Hartford Guardian. She has worked for The Hartford Courant, The Washington Post, The Root.com, and People Magazine. She has taught U.S. History and Journalism at Quinnipiac University, Howard University and Rutgers University. Follow her on Twitter: @annmarieadams.

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CT Pushes Back on Proposed Tribal Rules


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Connecticut officials are pushing back against proposed federal guidelines that would give tribal recognition to groups that have been denied it under the state’s stiff requirements.

In a statement released to the press on Wednesday, Attorney General George Jepsen announced his decision to  file official comments with the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs opposing those proposed rules. Jepsen said the new rules, established in May, breaks from “acknowledged principles” and would dismantle previous decisions.

“Rather than improving transparency, predictability and finality, the proposed changes may undo settled decisions on which the state and others had expended significant resources and on which they have relied,” Jepsen said.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy added that the federal rules issued recently would significantly weaken the state’s substantive requirements for federal tribal recognition, which require groups to prove contact with Europeans.

Groups such as the Eastern Pequot, Schaghticoke and possibly the Golden Hill Paugussett, may benefit from the new federal guidelines.

That aside, Malloy said the federal government should consider the “grave and unfair impact” on Connecticut–if the new rules were to be adopted.

“Such a change would likely result in federal acknowledgement for groups that have made land claims to large areas of settled land here in Connecticut, and who have already been denied recognition after a long, intense, and fact-based federal process.”
If adopted as proposed, previously denied petitioners could gain recognition in the state. Such a consent requirement would likely be subject to litigation, state officials said.
The federal tribal recognition rules currently in place require a tribe to prove its continuous community and political authority since first contact with European settlers. Under the changes proposed by the BIA, groups would be required to demonstrate that a state has maintained a state reservation since 1934.

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