What does poverty look like in the United States?
Life inside an ‘American-made’ tragedy
Henry Broeska 4 days ago·9 min read
Aidan on a school night, accessing free Wi-Fi in the restaurant parking lot where he works and doing online homework by LED light.
Accelerated by the pandemic, there are uniquely underlying reasons for the growing population of ‘working homeless’ in the United States that starts with inadequate health care. Somehow we have normalized a type of poverty that doesn’t exist in most other countries, including Canada.
January 10, 2021
By: Henry Broeska
Aidan Rosenkoetter seems to have it all. On the outside he’s the handsome all-American boy, the kind mothers dream their daughters will bring home to dinner. He’s now a senior at prestigious Ladue Horton Watkins High School in St. Louis, recently named the top ‘non-selective’ high school in Missouri. He’s been a driven self-starter his whole life and has become an ‘A’ student — even through online pandemic school. A former state football champion, he’s been called a ‘natural leader’ by his coach. It would seem that Aidan’s future couldn’t look much brighter as he reaches college age.
Yes, Aidan is everything a 17-year-old All-American student should be — with one exception. He’s poverty-stricken. Instead of applying to college and looking over scholarship offers with his parents, Aidan’s life has become a monotonous blur of drudgery and suffering, both physical and mental. Here in the heartland of the wealthiest country in the world, what we find unfolding instead is the ‘all-American tragedy.’ And it’s a tale that’s becoming all too common.
Aidan works an average of fifty hours a week at a McDonald’s restaurant. He pulls mostly overnight shifts before logging onto his classes — until he has to go to work again in an unchanging cycle of tedium. There’s no time to do the fun things that kids his age are supposed to do. He grabs minutes of sleep where he can, sometimes propped up in a chair. On payday he hands half of his paycheck over to his mom to help pay the family bills.
MEDICAL APARTHIED“SAY HERE NAME” Written by Akili and Dr. Emilee Bargoma
The recent and sad death of Dr. Susan Moore is another example of anti-Blackness and medical apartheid. In the words of Dr. Susan Moore: “You have to show proof that you have something wrong with you, in order for you to get the medicine. I put forward, and I maintain: If I was white, I wouldn’t have to go through that. Dr. Bannec made me feel like I was a drug addict, and he knew I was a physician.” This is how Black people get killed, their complaints of pain and discomfort are often either challenged, or go unaddressed. Black people often are treated using protocols and equipment that have been optimized and calibrated to serve White patients.
Black patients are also often sent home without proper information or instruction on how to care for themselves. For those (like Dr. Moore) who are aware of these treatment dichotomies and demand that they be given proper care, they are met with passive aggressive responses. In Dr. Moore’s case, her doctor (Bannec) not only downplayed her pain, but placed the onus on her to prove she was in pain. Within a few days Dr. Moore was dead from COVID-19 related complications. And even in death, those who denied her adequate medical care insist that they were bullied by her. Simply because she demanded that they treat her accordingly.
This is clear evidence of State sanctioned violence. Just as we witnessed George Floyd being refused his humanity by Derek Chauvin, we also witnessed Dr. Moore’s last days as she was denied her humanity by the doctors and medical staff who had sworn a pledge to Do No Harm.
This is not new, it has been an experience Black people have suffered since our enslavement. The current pandemic of COVID-19 has disproportionately ravaged Black communities across the country. Black people are nearly five times more likely to be hospitalized, and three times more likely to die, from the coronavirus.
It is incumbent upon us to attack the State sanctioned medical apartheid, that exists in this country, in the same manner in which apartheid in South Africa was attacked. Firstly, we must be prepared to loudly disrupt the system, and demand open acknowledgement of the stark duality that exists in this country’s medical care system. Secondly, the teaching practices of the medical profession must undergo radical change. We must demand that Black patients are afforded the same treatment as their White counterparts. Finally, we must demand Black voices be at the center of every aspect of health care, starting with a call for the single payer systems of Medicare For All.
Because all Black Lives Matter, it is our duty to fight to end these medical apartheid practices so Black Lives can be saved. Unfortunately, the deliberate neglect of Black Americans by a racist system, has claimed the life of Dr. Susan Moore. She has been made an honor ancestor, another name we will call upon to ground us in the Black Liberation Struggle.
MEDICINE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
Health Inc. September 15th 2020, 5:00AM
Taylor Glascock for KHN
Coronado may outlive the hospital that saved him. Founded 168 years ago as the city’s first hospital, Mercy survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 but is succumbing to modern economics, which have underfinanced hospitals serving the poor. In July, the 412-bed hospital informed state regulators that it planned to shutter all inpatient services as soon as February.
“If something else happens, who is to say if the responders can get my husband to the nearest hospital?” says Coronado’s wife, Sallie.
While rural hospitals have been closing at a quickening pace over the past two decades, a number of inner-city hospitals now face a similar fate. And experts fear that the economic damage inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic on safety net hospitals and the ailing finances of the cities and states that subsidize them are helping push some urban hospitals over the edge.
By the nature of their mission, safety net hospitals everywhere struggle because they treat a large share of patients who are uninsured — and can’t pay bills — or have their care paid by Medicaid, which doesn’t cover costs. But metropolitan hospitals confront additional threats beyond what rural hospitals do. State-of-the-art hospitals in affluent city neighborhoods are luring more of the safety net hospitals’ best-insured patients.
These combined financial pressures have been exacerbated by the pandemic at a time when these hospitals’ role has become more important: Their core patients — the poor and people of color — have been disproportionately stricken by COVID-19 in metropolitan regions like Chicago.
“We’ve had three hospital closures in the last year or so, all of them Black neighborhoods,” says Dr. David Ansell, senior vice president for community health equity at Rush University Medical Center, a teaching hospital on Chicago’s West Side. He says the decision to close Mercy “is really criminal in my mind, because people will die as a result.”
My book, “Health, Medicine and Justice: Designing a fair and equitable healthcare system”, is out and and widely available! Medicine and Social Justice will have periodic postings of my comments on issues related to, well, Medicine, and Social Justice, and Medicine and Social Justice. It will also look at Health, Workforce, health systems, and some national and global priorities.
Posted by Josh Freeman
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2020
No way to run a business: the US healthcare system is not about caring for you!
The most distinctive and defining characteristic of the US healthcare delivery system is how poorly it serves people, and the number of hoops, obstacles, and downright obfuscation people need to work their way through to get care. The most important problem is that we have worse health outcomes and more premature death than any other industrialized country, and the excessive cost of achieving those worse outcomes (the only place where we’re #1!). But the sheer difficulty, pain, and low yield of going through the information needed to make the wisest decisions (actually wise, we will see, is virtually impossible in our system) takes a – completely unnecessary – toll on all of us.
The reason for this situation, very simply, is that the healthcare system in the US is not structured to deliver maximum health benefit, but to deliver maximum profit to the major players – and that is very few of us. It is absolutely critical to remember this core fact, because every other characteristic of our healthcare system derives from it. Worried about surprise medical bills when some of the doctors at your in-plan hospital are out of plan? Worried about paying for the wonderful new medicines advertised on TV that promise you cure for thousands of dollars a month? Worried about whether you can afford the premiums for the plans your employer offers, especially if you need to cover your family? Or the premiums for the better ACA-plans? Whether you can bet on your current health status, if it is ok, continuing into the future? Whether you can survive until you are old enough to get Medicare? And then, when you are, whether Medicare will cover enough of your bills, or if you need – and can afford – a Medicare supplement plan? How about choosing a “Part D” drug plan? Why are the websites and information so opaque and difficult? Is there any plan that is truly of value? And even if “of value”, can YOU afford it?
These questions just touch the surface. Then, you actually need to access healthcare services. Then it gets worse. Primary care doctor? Can you get an appointment? Use urgent care? Is your problem on the list of things that they can competently manage? Emergency room? Wait until you are so sick they have to take care of you? And what about those drugs…?
Floyds testimony at one of the Assembly comittee Health care hearings in Sacremento. Floyd is the vice Chair of ILWU – So California Council, member of Labor United For Universal Health Care and a crane operator at the Long Beach port. He speaks about the need for Single-Payer Healthcare
Black Doctor Dies After Giving Birth, Underscoring Maternal Mortality Crisis— Tragedy shows racial disparities in pregnancy outcomes aren’t solely based on access to care
Members of the medical community at Indiana University School of Medicine are mourning the loss of Chaniece Wallace, MD, a fourth-year pediatric chief resident there, after she died from pregnancy complications last week.
Around 35 weeks into her pregnancy, Wallace developed symptoms of preeclampsia. Her baby was delivered via C-section, but Wallace had subsequent complications — including a ruptured liver, kidney function issues, and high blood pressure — and required additional surgeries. She died on Oct. 24, four days after her daughter, Charlotte, was born.
SHOULD WE SUPPORT AN INDIVIDUAL MANDATE?
Public Citizen's Eagan Kemp today on the individual mandate, the Supreme Court case threatening the ACA, why the mandate is regressive, and what a Biden administration might do (or not do) to bring it back from the dead.
WHY SB562 WAS NOT ENACTED
How Anthony Rendon Sabotaged SB562 Single Payer Healthcare for California and the effects it had on the public.
BUILDING THE MOVEMENT FOR HEALTHCARE JUSTICE
Here is the panel for Healthcare justice hosted by Bernie Sanders and Pramila Jayapal. It is a wonderful townhall.
Here is a video supporting healthcare for all! Produced by Clifford Tasner.
Health Care for All – California (HCA) is dedicated to achieving a universal health care system through single-payer public financing. Our goal is that all California residents will have comprehensive, high quality health care.