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The politics of ‘blind spot’ legislating


Practical Politics

In what is supposed to be the most scientifically advanced and progressive society on earth that many foreigners virtually give their right arm in order to immigrate into, the U.S.’s rep is more often a lot better than its reality.

A continuing major example of that point is the increasing problem of maternal healthcare in the U.S. Surely there has been a marked rise in community fears of losing the vaunted positions of white folks in general in American society, but it still seems nonsensical not to address the problem of killing off the womenfolk of a society while supposedly trying to save that society.

A new major report (2023) from the American Medical Association just demonstrated that, over the past 20 years excluding the pandemic, maternal deaths all across the U.S. have more than doubled and are continuing. As expected, the data showed that African American mothers died at the highest rates overall, while there were also very large increases in the deaths of American Indian and Native Alaskan mothers wherever they were found. The slight surprise in that study, however, is the finding that white American mothers are dying like flies, too.

Part of this continuing problem is the nonsensical political warfare over abortion rights and political control over female bodies. Several states have passed, and continue to pass, more restrictive legislation denying birth-related medical care for women, including criminalizing certain kinds of medical assistance.

In addition, at least 10 states have refused to legislate access to Medicaid---i.e., federal medical insurance for the poor and elderly—in their jurisdictions. These include the over 2.5 million citizens of Wyoming, Kansas, Texas, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida, especially poor women.

The logic of this course of political action is very strange indeed, and unchecked it will lead to an unmitigated population disaster in this country. In fact, if we stay on this trajectory, we won’t have to worry about forever defending ourselves against China, Russia or other external enemies. Not caring properly for mothers in this society will certainly weaken the U.S. enough for capture and control, regardless of other things going right.

Quite simply, this does not make sense. Such are the politics of our modern scenario, where everything is bargained forth for temporary political gain---shortsighted and ephemeral at best. In what world does denying healthcare insurance to the poor and elderly, especially women, make a state or country stronger?  Medicaid expansion in the U.S., because it essentially came from the Democratic Party’s championing of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), has been resisted and kicked around by mainly Republican opponents since its inception, in spite of the fallacious logic of that position. And the U.S. keeps dying.

The Medical Association’s report said that, States have a “perinatal quality collaborative,” or a network to help health care providers understand best practices for things like reducing cesarean sections, managing complications with hypertensive disorders and curbing injuries or severe complications related to childbirth, if they choose to utilize that resource.

“Most of the maternal deaths we reviewed for this study and that other places have reviewed … were preventable,” Dr. William Greenfield, one of the principal authors of the study said. And that is the on-going tragedy in this situation. Another author said, “We are killing our national future through a confusion between scientific progress and political debate. The two must be separated. Female healthcare should not be a political strategy, it must be and remain a national strategy for survival.”

This writer concurs.

Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.

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