Topic: News and Blog

Judy Lubin’s White House Panel Remarks: Fifty Years After Medicare Desegregated Hospitals, Blacks Still Fighting for Health Care Access

[Read this article on Huffington Post] The ability to access quality health care services for the majority of the black population has been largely due to federal government policies and initiatives designed to address long-standing, systemic barriers to medical care for African Americans. As part of the White House’s Black History Month panel co-hosted by the Association for the Study for African American Life and History (ASALH) this past Wednesday, I had an opportunity to elaborate on this history by discussing the significance of the Affordable Care Act and rejection of the Medicaid expansion by southern states within the context of the ongoing struggle for health equity in the U.S.

While my research examines the interaction of racial politics with efforts to pass large-scale health reform from the New Deal to the ongoing opposition to the ACA, focusing on this year’s 50th anniversary of the passage of Medicare and Medicaid offered an opportunity to shine light on how important these programs have been in reducing the discrimination and institutional racism that were once hallmarks of American health care.

For a good part of the 20th century American health care was segregated and national health care policy like the Hill-Burton Hospital Construction Act was structured by powerful Southern legislators who used states’ rights as the guiding principle for incrementally expanding federal involvement in health care while maintaining “separate but equal” facilities throughout the South. The deeply entrenched Jim Crow system of segregated hospitals in the South often relegated blacks to substandard care and denial of admission to white hospitals even as black patients experienced life-threatening emergencies right outside their doors. Moreover, African American health care providers were excluded from membership in professional associations such as the American Medical Association that were crucially important for credentialing purposes and hospital admission privileges.

When Medicare went into effect in 1966, the Johnson administration used the Civil Rights Act as the basis for requiring hospitals to desegregate as a condition for receiving Medicare funds. By pulling this important policy lever, the Johnson administration ushered a relatively swift end to the Jim Crow hospital system in the South.

Medicare was a breakthrough in the long battle to achieve universalism in federal health care policy. Universalism as a principle means that every American has access to the same benefits. It is an important safe guard against discrimination and the nuances of state politics.

Years after Medicaid was enacted, however, legal action was still required as many hospitals continued to discriminate against African Americans and the poor by refusing to see patients covered by Medicaid. While racial discrimination in health care is illegal today, African Americans are especially affected by the Supreme Court’s decision to allow states to opt-out of expanding Medicaid under the ACA. With 24 states controlled by Republican governors or state legislators rejecting the Medicaid expansion, people in states that most need expanded coverage options due to higher rates of poverty are being locked out of the ACA. Most southern states are not expanding Medicaid, leaving nearly four million adults eligible for the program through the ACA without health insurance coverage. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, forty percent of eligible African Americans reside in states not participating in the expansion. Because of the distribution of the African American population in the South and the greater likelihood of earning incomes that make them eligible for Medicaid, these state decisions disproportionately impact black southerners and are likely to increase health disparities as Americans in states that have expanded Medicaid experience the benefits associated with health care coverage.

As originally written, the ACA’s Medicaid expansion provides uniform eligibility requirements across the states by making adults with incomes at or below 138% of the poverty line eligible for coverage. With this provision, the nation was the closest it has ever been to implementing a national, universal health care program for poor adults.

Medicare and Medicaid have been important vehicles for ensuring access to care for seniors, the poor and other vulnerable populations. Both of these programs have been especially significant for African Americans as they not only helped to dismantle the Jim Crow health system but continue to serve as powerful public health tools for reducing racial disparities in health.

State Medicaid expansion decisions and their impact on communities of color point to the unfinished business in the fight to ensure equitable access to health care. The ACA has the potential to bring us closer to reducing the disparities in health care access that have far too long defined black life in America. Republican legislators and governors can play a crucial part in this effort by expanding Medicaid.


Dr. Lubin’s Analysis of the Impact of the ACA on Latinos Featured in Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy

HJHP CoverPSC’s Dr. Judy Lubin’s analysis of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its potential for improving access to care for the Latino population is featured in the Spring 2014 issue of the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy. An academic, non-partisan policy journal housed in the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, the HJHP is devoted to interdisciplinary scholarship on politics and policy issues facing the Latino communities in the United States.

Dr. Lubin’s article, Inclusion and Exclusion of Latinos in the Affordable Care Act: Challenges and Opportunities for Achieving Health Equity, examines outreach strategies and various components of the health law to assess its ability to reduce and prevent the exacerbation of health inequities. (more…)


CBCF Dinner featuring President Obama

Obama Speech CBCBefore President Barack Obama delivered his rousing speech at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Phoenix Awards Dinner in September, several Members of Congress set the stage for the evening. As the official scriptwriter for the event, PSC drafted the majority of the speeches for the evening and worked with Members to refine the text and delivery.

Among the Members PSC had the honor to work with include Representatives James Clyburn (D-SC), Assistant Democratic Leader in the 112th Congress, Donald Payne (D-NJ), Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO), Chair of the CBC, Al Green (D-TX) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH). As the official scriptwriter for the evening, PSC developed scripts for all speakers and the hosts, author and award-winning actor Hill Harper and veteran WJLA ABC 7 News Anchor Maureen Bunyan.



PSC’s Judy Lubin Joins Congresswoman Donna Edwards on Netroots Panel

At the Netroots Nation Conference in Minneapolis, PSC’s Judy Lubin joined Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD) and other panelists on the Doin’ it Again — Getting 2008 First-time Voters Out in 2012 panel discussion on Saturday, June 18th. The discussion focused on offline and online strategies for engaging, energizing and winning back 2008 first-time voters, with an emphasis on youth and African American voters.

In a Huffington Post blog about the panel, Lubin wrote:

Joblessness in the black community combined with the oft-heard sentiment that the president has “dissed” his most loyal base has been the subject of heated public discussion, most notably the Cornel West/Al Sharpton debate on MSNBC back in April. But rather than focus on this issue, the Do It Again panel (video below) at last week’s Netroots Nation conference centered on grassroots strategies for re-engaging blacks and other first-time voters for the 2012 presidential election.

During the discussion, Lubin noted several trends that suggest black voters are likely to provide strong support for the president in 2012, despite high unemployment and criticism of Obama’s lack of a “black agenda”.

As she notes in her Huffington Post piece:

Despite the depressing joblessness rate and disappointment (expressed by some) in the Obama administration’s lack of targeted policy solutions to address their concerns, blacks overwhelming approve of the president’s job performance. Additionally, blacks, more so than whites, believe that a brighter future is ahead both for themselves and future generations. For many, the president is the embodiment of those hopes and dreams. This was true in 2008 and will likely be the same in 2012.

This does not discount the almost certain reality that getting disaffected voters back to the polls will be a challenge. The “enthusiasm gap” may very well cause an erosion of support among the president’s key constituencies. This will also likely play out with fewer small dollar donations.

But just in case anyone wants to inaccurately suggest that blacks remain loyal to President Obama because of his skin color, polling data suggest progressives and liberals on a whole still strongly support the president. Media reports on the Netroots conference focused on the tension between progressives and the White House, but as these Gallup numbers show, support among the president’s liberal base remains at about 90%, which is virtually unchanged since his inauguration.

The panel was moderated by LegalSpeaks blogger Debbie Hines and included Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD), Politic365.com Editor Kristal High, technology and politics blogger Jeneba Ghatt and progressive organizer Scott Roberts.

Netroots Nation is the largest annual gathering of progressive activists and bloggers.


PSC Welcomes GreatSchools, Lung Association and Education Collaborative

PSC is pleased to announce three new clients: GreatSchools, American Lung Association and the Collaborative for Education Organizing.

GreatSchools is the country’s leading source of information on school performance. The organization has launched a groundbreaking new program called College Bound, an online approach to helping parents raise college-ready high school graduates. PSC is providing research services that will culminate in a case study report on the factors that contributed to a successful partnership roll out and parental engagement in the Washington, DC area.

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through Education, Advocacy and Research. PSC is developing a series of issue and policy briefs to support its Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant for the cash loans for bad credit approval.

PSC is working with the Collaborative for Education Organizing, a Washington, DC coalition of education advocacy organizations, on EZTrader scam and strategic planning, sustainability, and messaging and communications.


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey is the oldest U.S. scientific organization, dating from 1807 when President Thomas Jefferson signed an act to provide for surveying the coasts of the United States. Today, OCS’s primary mission is to ensure safe, efficient and environmentally sound marine transportation that brings an uninterrupted flow of people and goods into and out of our nation’s ports.

PSC is working with OCS to completely redesign the agency’s website to be more responsive to the needs of the more than 180,000 visitors the site receives each month. The new website will feature user-friendly navigation, better content organization, and integration of social media tools. PSC also developed a national public media distribution plan for The Surveyors, a documentary video chronicling the role of OCS in pioneering new technology to help engineer the growth of the nation. The plan outlines several strategies for distribution including public television, maritime museums and partnerships with science education organizations.


Broadband Access – A Civil Right in the Digital Age?

The FCC has released the nation’s first National Broadband Plan. In a blog article (cross posted on Open Salon and New America Foundation’s Media and Technology blog), PSC’s Judy Lubin discusses the social, economic and political implications of broadband access.

She writes:

“In the coming days the FCC’s national broadband plan will no doubt be intensely scrutinized by the multitude of players vying to influence the government’s new media and telecommunications agenda. As the expected debate over government involvement and private interests ensues, the focus must remain on the needs of Americans who are disadvantaged by a lack of broadband services.

In a world increasingly dependent on fast and reliable access to the Internet, broadband creates and facilitates opportunities to enhance nearly every aspect of our daily lives. From education to jobs, life-saving health information to new business tools and ever expanding avenues for civic engagement and political participation, broadband is the enabling technology.

Whether its enabling small businesses to operate with low overhead, helping an unemployed worker train online for a new career or allowing families and friends to stay connected or locate missing relatives after natural disasters—the economic, social and even humanitarian implications of broadband access are far and wide.

But the fact remains that too many of our fellow Americans have yet to realize the benefits of broadband. This is especially true for minorities, seniors, people with disabilities and low-income, tribal and rural communities. Sixty-five percent of Americans have a broadband connection at home but among African Americans its only 59 percent and Hispanics, 49 percent. The disparities are wider across age, income and education. For example, among households with an annual income of $20,000 or less, fewer than 40 percent have a broadband connection compared to 91 percent of households with an income of more than $75,000 a year.”

The full post and much more about the seo agency london is available on Salon.com


Black Women’s Health Imperative

In the midst of a national debate on health care and growing health care disparities, PSC provided the Black Women’s Health Imperative (Imperative) with strategic direction and counsel on the organization’s communications, policy advocacy and community outreach efforts.

PSC worked side-by-side with the organization’s leadership to develop key messages around health reform, breast cancer disparities, HIV/AIDS and other health issues. Based on these key messages, PSC created a variety of communication materials including issue briefs, press releases, action alerts, newsletter content, health education brochures, and general member communications.

PSC also worked closely with the Imperative to develop and host its first Breast Cancer Leadership Summit in March 2009 and a health reform town hall in September 2009. For both of these events, PSC provided recommendations and assisted with recruitment of panel members, advised the organization on the program format and content, outreach to women’s organizations, and developed briefing documents that were disseminated onsite and via the organization’s website.


PSC’s “Action for Haiti” Links CNN and Washington Residents to Local Relief and Fundraising Efforts

On January 12, 2010, a catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti. A U.S. born Haitian American, PSC’s founder and president Judy Lubin immediately sprung into action to help family, friends and others affected by the earthquake.

While working to locate her own missing relatives in Port-Au-Prince, Lubin launched the Action for Haiti Facebook page to link DC area residents to local earthquake relief and fundraising efforts. In just a few days, the page attracted national media and more than 1400 “fans” as concerned citizens, college students, and nonprofit organizations used the resource to network, collaborate and promote fundraising and volunteer opportunities. As millions watched the heart wrenching images on television, Lubin also worked behind the scenes with CNN producers on their local coverage of the earthquake.

In the first few days following the tragic event, Action for Haiti became a hub of activity as many found the page to be a valuable resource and avenue for transforming their feelings of powerlessness  into real, substantive action to benefit the people of Haiti.

For more information or to join Action for Haiti, visit www.facebook.com/actionforhaiti