Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Obama claims to champion poor people’s rights to health care, but he sent his lawyers to deny Medicaid recipients the right to sue under federal law. Taking the state’s rights position, Obama would “allow the states to keep whacking away at the rates paid to doctors and hospitals, even if it means that people are denied needed care. Then Obama can claim that Medicaid costs are going down on his watch.”

Obama Administration Obstructs Right To Medicaid

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

California Medicaid recipients said the state had no right to water down Medicaid to the point that health care providers wouldn’t touch the program.”

President Obama is even slicker than “Slick Willie” Clinton when it come to pulling the rug out from under poor people while pretending to be their champion. Obama sent his Justice Department lawyers before the U.S. Supreme Court, to file a friend-of-the-court brief in a dispute over Medicaid. Medicaid recipients had sued the state of California for making such deep cuts in the program that health care providers were refusing to serve Medicaid patients. The plaintiffs claim the state was violating federal law, which calls for state Medicaid rates to be “sufficient to enlist enough providers” so that sick recipients can find doctors, hospitals and pharmacies willing to treat them. Many states pay so little for Medicaid that very few doctors will serve recipients.

The California Medicaid recipients said that federal law trumps state law, and that the state had no right to water down Medicaid to the point that health care providers wouldn’t touch the program. That would amount to depriving recipients of “equal access to care” under the federal Medicaid law. And, under the “supremacy clause” of the U.S. Constitution, federal law has the last word.

Normally, one would expect a Democratic president to side with the supremacy of federal law. But not Barack Obama, not this time, not if it empowers poor people. The administration found a slick way to take the state’s rights side of the issue, arguing that there was no explicit federal law that allowed private citizens to sue states to enforce the standards of care called for under federal Medicaid law. In other words, the administration argued, as did the state of California, that recipients can’t sue for their rights unless the law specifically authorizes them to sue.

But the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed. If states are too stingy with their payments, Medicaid recipients and health care providers could sue as a Constitutional right, for enforcement of the federal law.

The administration argued that recipients can’t sue for their rights unless the law specifically authorizes them to sue.”

Later this year, we’ll see how the U.S. Supreme Court rules. But the Obama administration and its constitutional lawyer-in-chief, have been revealed as state’s righters when it allows them to cut the budgets of poor people’s programs.

It's easy to see what Obama's up to. Rather than permit Medicaid recipients to sue, he'd allow the states to keep whacking away at the rates paid to doctors and hospitals, even if it means that people are denied needed care. Then Obama can claim that Medicaid costs are going down on his watch. Of course, this will do nothing to fix Medicaid. All that will happen is that sick people are made to go without medical care. Obama is exposed, once again, as a sneakier version of the Republicans. The GOP let's everyone know that it hates Medicaid and wants to do away with it. Obama claims he wants to protect people's healthcare rights, and will use the powers of the federal government to achieve those rights. Then he turns around and tries to deny Medicaid recipients access to federal law and the right to sue. Democrats in Congress are upset with their president, and plan to file their own brief, one that upholds the supremacy of federal law and citizens rights under the law. For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20110601_gf_ObamaMedicaid.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:21pm EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Gulf Arabs, the European Union, heads of state in Washington, Paris and London, the war chiefs of NATO – everyone was consulted on the assault against Libya, except Africans, whose latest peace plan was rejected out of hand. In the end, the opinions of the so-called Libyan “rebels” won’t count, either. “These rebels lost their legitimacy the second they decided to become the ground troops for a neocolonial invasion of North Africa.” As underlings, they’ll just take orders.

 

NATO Wants to Free Africa from the Africans!

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The rebels have chosen to become imperialism’s mascots, waiting like pitiful little Gunga Dins for the British and French to arrive with attack helicopters to burn and kill their countrymen.”

As far as the United States and Europe are concerned, Africans have nothing to say about what happens in Africa. South African President Jacob Zuma made a second trip to Libya this week, on behalf of the African Union, seeking a diplomatic end to NATO’s war against Mouammar Gaddafi’s government. Just as with a previous African Union peace keeping mission, back in early April, Col. Gaddafi agreed to the peace plan. And just as before, the so-called rebels and their American and European bosses refused even to consider a cease fire. As has been obvious from the beginning of this “humanitarian” farce, the Great White Fathers of Europe and the “Wall Street mascot” from the United States, as Obama has been called, will be satisfied with nothing less than regime change in Libya – and to Hell with what Africans think!

The Euro-Americans will soon prove just as contemptuous of their erstwhile North African Arab allies, based in Benghazi, who claim to be leading a “revolution” against Gaddafi. But these rebels lost their legitimacy the second they decided to become the ground troops for a neocolonial invasion of North Africa. Revolutionaries fight the Power. The gang from Benghazi are mere pawns of imperialism and have no credibility whatsoever as revolutionaries. This is an imperialist war, fought for imperial objectives. The rebels have chosen to become imperialism’s mascots, waiting like pitiful little Gunga Dins for the British and French to arrive with attack helicopters to burn and kill their countrymen.

The gang from Benghazi are mere pawns of imperialism and have no credibility whatsoever as revolutionaries.”

NATO orders their Libyan minions around like children. NATO recently “issued instructions” that the rebels not move beyond certain points in the desert, so as not to enter the killing fields that the rich white fathers – plus Obama – are preparing to incinerate Libyan government soldiers. Naturally, the rebels will do exactly as they are told, since this is not their revolution. Rather, Libya is the front line of the European and American counter-revolution. The chain of command reaches to Paris, London and Washington. Benghazi has reverted to the colonial outpost that it was when the Italians ruled – only now, in the 21st century, all of the Europeans plus the Americans get to lord over the Libyans, who grin and skin while thanking the colonizers for coming back to save Africa from the Africans.

And so it makes perfect sense that a peace proposal from the president of South Africa, Black Africa's most powerful and wealthy country, acting on behalf of the organization that includes every nation on the continent, counts for less than nothing in the imperial scheme of things. The West encourages South African President Jacob Zuma to help bring chaotic Black countries into line, but Zuma and the African Union are not authorized to interfere with imperial wars on the continent. That's “white folks business.”

When the Western attack helicopters arrive, the Benghazi-based rebels will cheer, as if they won something. The Gunga Dins should carefully study those helicopters and their awesome firepower, because those guns will one day likely be turned against them. The U.S. and Europe have no intention of allowing Libyans to rule Libya. And after all, why should the imperialists hand over all that oil to a bunch of local flunkies who couldn't even fight their own war. For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.


Direct download: 20110601_gf_ZumaLibya.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:56am EDT