Saturday, January 29, 2005

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Day late and a dollar short

From yesterdays NYT's editorial
Krugman's Little Black Lies
The persistent gap in life expectancy between African-Americans and whites is one measure of the deep inequalities that remain in our society - including highly unequal access to good-quality health care. We ought to be trying to diminish that gap, especially given the fact that black infants are two and half times as likely as white babies to die in their first year.
Now nobody can expect instant progress in reducing health inequalities.
But the benefits of Social Security privatized, if any, won't materialize for many decades. By using blacks' low life expectancy as an argument for privatized, Mr. Bush is in effect taking it as a given that 40 or 50 years from now, large numbers of African-Americans will still be dying before their time.
Is this an example of what Mr. Bush famously called "the soft bigotry of low expectations?" Maybe not: it isn't particularly soft to treat premature black deaths not as a tragedy we must end but as just another way to push your ideological agenda. But bigotry - yes, that sounds like the right word.

Senator John Kerry, on January 27th gave a speech; I am guessing it is his first in his run for President in 2008, in it he outlined a plan to cover all uninsured children. Now, no matter how you feel about Kerry this is a good idea and one we can all get behind. The costs of healthcare do go up because of emergency room visits for colds, flu and minor aliments that could be treated at a doctors office but aren't because of lack of insurance. It is not only a wise investment in terms of dollars, it does something to address what Krugman writes about above the health inequalities minorities in this country face.

Bush's plan? More health care savings accounts, which a study released the same day as Kerry's speech, shows prevents those in the lower to moderate income brackets, facing high deductibles, from traditional prevetative medical care : filing prescriptions and having test run because it is too expensive. It does nothing to address the uninsured as usual.