“Statistically, black men in America are at increased risk for just about every health problem known. African Americans have a shorter life expectancy than any other racial group in America except Native Americans, and black men fare even worse than black women. Some of it can be chalked up to poverty, the most powerful determinant of health, or to lifestyle factors. But even when all those factors are accounted for in studies, the gap stubbornly persists. Now researchers are beginning to examine discrimination itself. Racism, more than race, may be cutting black men down before their time.” [snippet from below] baltimoresun.com October 4, 2007

Racism may affect black men’s health

By Susan Brink


[The snippet above is a heart breaker. This morning I found a note in our building elevator to the effect that a recently retired (African American) staff member is severely ill in the hospital. On checking I dissevered that he is dying from one of those cancers that can be discovered and treated with proper preventive care. Not just African Americans but all those with minimal medical insurance coverage — or none — are destined to discover only too late that a treatable condition will be the death of him/her. But there are additional factors with African Americans. I recall a medical conference jointly sponsored by Mt. Sinai Medical and CUNY philosophy which explored the problem of getting African Americans to proper medical care. We discovered that older African Americans were afraid to seek medical help in all too many circumstances because of cruel and deadly care that they had received from doctors either uncaring or even brutal (e.g. ones who removed a uterus with growths rather than restoring it, which was apparently a common practice in the South up through mid century).

Needless to say anyone with eyes and ears can read hostility and prejudice in others. Hopefully there is less of this now and more access to medical care for more people, but the Bush veto of medical insurance for children tells the story. He bills this as an escape from “socialism” and defense of private medical insurance programs. Bush presumably has not had to engage in the battles that most of us have to get such insurance plans to pay what is provided for on paper.

Our family must constantly battle and be careful to get advanced permission for life-saving procedures — we lose some of the battles or find that we are ignored by company representatives whose employers report huge profits, e.g. Cigna which no longer haunts us. Most recently we moved on to Medicare — fortunately all our doctors have accepted it so far — but one’s office called when the Medicare response was that we were not enrolled — we received our new cards several months ago. An attempt to contact by phone resulted in a promise from a recording of a call back in several days.

Bottom line — getting and paying for medical care requires almost a Ph.D. in the arts of prying monies out of medical insurance plans which pay employees to dodge and weave payments due. We need a civilized medical funding system such as every other developed country has which is funded and operated by government employees with no personal interest in defeating medical care for those of us who need it! Ed Kent]
— “A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)
— Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies] http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CollegeConversation http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PeaceEfforts http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EndingPoverty http://groups.yahoo.com/group/440neighborhood http://groups.yahoo.com/group/StudentConcerns http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AcademicFreedom http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PrivacyRights http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Israel_Palestine http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FindingHumaneJobs
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