November 4, 2013
My son burst into my den where I was reading, David Maraniss’ Barack Obama: The Story. It was Halloween and I was hiding from the rush of “trick or treaters” that kept my daughter and wife busy doling candy out the front door. My son’s sudden appearance surprised me.
“Hey, Eugene, what’s up?”
“Dad, we need to talk.”
“I just got kicked out of my Kaiser plan. The school district is telling me that I have to sign up for Obamacare.”
After getting his Masters in Education at Johns Hopkins University and teaching in the Baltimore Unified School District for five years, my son had returned home. He was now teaching at James Madison Junior High School in Oakland’s tough Brookfield Village. When he was hired by the Oakland Unified School District, Eugene chose Kaiser as his health care provider over an HMO. He wanted to avoid the hassel of dealing with an insurance carrier. With Kaiser, he could see a doctor whenever he needed without any out of pocket expenses. My son had played defensive back for the Baltimore Raven’s Arena Football team and had gotten pretty banged up. Now he visited Kaiser for help with some recurring injuries.
“What do you mean, ‘they kicked you out of Kaiser’? I asked.
“The district told me that next year I had to sign up for Obamacare. Its going to cost me for insurance and I’ll have to pay for all my medical costs until I reach the deductible.”
My wife walked into the room and joined in the conversation. “They said that under Obamacare you could keep your old insurance plan, if you wanted.”
“Well he lied!”
I shook my head.
“Dad, what can I do about it?” he asked. “I don’t have that kind of money.”
“There is nothing that can be done, son,” I said.
“You used to work in politics,” Eugene said. “I know the politicians are doing something about this! I’m not the only one affected by this.”
“The politicians?” I asked. “You mean the democrats?”
“Son, those ostriches have been burying their heads in the dirt for the past five years.”
Eugene starrted getting worked up. Obamacare was going to cost him money that he did not have. He had student loans to pay.
“The politicians must be doing something,” he protested.
“They are,” I responded. “Your black Congressman, Barabara Lee, the former chairperson of the Congressional Black Caucus is busy getting George Wallace’s daughter to speak in Oakland about her father’s contribution to the civil rights movement.”
My wife added. “But she’s also inviting Lyndon Johnson’s daughter.”
“Oh yeah!” I replied. “I bet they won’t discuss Peppers’ book describing how the government, J. Edgar Hoover and Richard Helms, were directed by Johnson to assassinate Martin Luther King!”
“I’m not interested in your conspiracy theories. Dad!” Eugene replied. “Someone must be doing something!”
“Like the governor?” I asked. “Governor Jerry Brown is more concerned with making all the bathrooms in California’s public schools available to both girls and boys.”
“Yeah,” I nodded. “It would be funny, if it wasn’t so sick.”
“So dad, what you’re telling me is that the politicians are fully behind Obamacare.”
“That’s what I’m telling you, son.”
“But it’s a rip off,” Eugene shouted.
“Tell me about,” I replied. “Last week, Jennifer and I attended a workshop on the implementation of Obamacare at St. Benedict’s Church.”
My daughter, Jennifer, is living at home while going to college. She is thirty-one. If she were to enroll in California’s Obamacare, her mother and I will have to pay the costs.
Black women from the state and county health departments conducted the workshop. They told the hundred or more in attendance that what Obamacare is doing to you is a good thing. That by forcing young people into the Affordable Care Act, they were driving the costs of health care down for the seniors.
“They’re not driving my costs down,” Eugene snapped. “It‘ll cost me over $5000 before I get a nickel benefit from Obamacare!”
“That’s not the worse of it,” I said.
“Oh no!” he murmured. “What is?”
“There was a black doctor attending this workshop. She tried to explain to the predominantly women audience that Obamacare does nothing to increase health care services nor does it increase the pool of health care professionals. Its an insurance scam.”
“Meaning that there will be longer wait times for urgent and emergency health care. Some patients might be forced to wait over a month to see a doctor.”
“What did the audience say to that?”
“The women representing the state’s Affordable Care Act exchange continually interrupted the doctor by challenging her facts. They finally were able to force her to sit down by saying that black people owed it to the president to support his health care program after all he has done for them.”
My son was crestfallen. “What can I do,” he asked.
“Well I suggest that you read: ‘White Alienation, Black Satisfaction and the Obama Era’ by Francis Wilkinson,” I said giving him the reference. [http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-29/white-alienation-black-satisfaction-and-the-obama-era.html]
“And Eugene …”
“Remember 97% of black people voted for Obama.”
“Black people have been mislead by their leaders for years. Its not going to change now especially when the President of the United States is a Luo tribesman from Kenya whose family has a history of serving the white planters as cooks, servants and spies.”