In the states of the US South, like Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, the Black infant mortality rate is over seventeen percent, while the national infant mortality rate is around 6.7%. In fact, with Cuba's infant mortality at 6%, a Black child in Cuba has a three-times better chance of living until his first birthday than does a Black child in parts of the US South.
States with large Black populations must not be permitted to "opt out" of national health care just so they can punish Black people, as they opted out of Obama's stimulus package. That's why I'm forwarding this letter to you from Color of Change, asking you to share the letter below with others and to contact your US Senators (especially from Southern states with large Black populations), e.g. Landrieu in Louisiana.
It's time for fundamental change. Please read CoC's letter:
Color of Change Mass Circulation Letter:
The Senate is closing in on a health care bill with a public health
insurance option, a key ingredient of meaningful health care reform.
But conservatives and insurance companies are fighting hard against
the public option, so Senate leadership has compromised by including
an "opt-out" clause, which would allow individual states to choose not
to participate in the program.
There's a real danger here. In the stimulus fight, we saw Republican
governors and legislators refuse federal dollars for political gain.
The same thing could happen with health care reform, with everday people
in states like Lousiana, Alabama, and South Carolina -- states with
large Black, poor, and working-class populations -- left out.
That's why I've joined ColorOfChange.org's campaign calling on
Congress and the White House to make the public option available
everywhere. Please join me:
I understand the need for compromise and negotiation, but I also want
to make sure that no community gets negotiated away in the process.
Including "opt-out" may be the best way to get a bill through the
Senate with a public option--but that won't be the end of the process,
and it doesn't mean "opt-out" will be in the final bill. The House
still needs to decide exactly what will be in its health care bill.
And once both the House and the Senate have passed legislation,
they'll have to negotiate with each other, and the White House, to
reconcile the differences between the two bills.
That's why we need to make it clear that we're watching and that we
will demand a public option that's available in every state. Please
join me in sending this message to Congress and the White House, and
ask your friends and family to do the same:
1. "So what is the 'opt-out' compromise?" Talking Points Memo,
2. "Public option opt out denies help to those who need it most," Fire
Dog Lake, 10-8-2009