Columnist Discusses Panel Focusing on Impact of Georgia Health Policies on MinoritiesNewman Times-Herald columnist Walter Jones in an opinion piece on Monday discussed a seminar held last week in Atlanta by the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus and Eli Lilly. The "core" of the seminar -- held for news reporters -- was the discussion of "uneven distribution of health care, not from 'separate but equal' facilities, but as a result of government health policies influenced by racism," Jones writes. Panelists included Sandra Ford, interim director of the Georgia Department of Human Resources' Division of Public Health; Legislative Black Caucus Chair Al Williams (D); and George Rust, director of Morehouse College's School of Medicine's National Center for Primary Care.
Ford criticized Gov. Sonny Perdue's (R) order to cut Medicaid spending at a time when demand for services is growing, but "did not point out" that Perdue "reacted to the projected $2 billion budget deficit by ordering nearly every agency to reduce spending by 6%" with "smaller cuts in Medicaid," Jones writes. Rust expressed his opposition to the decision by state lawmakers to fund the expansion of the Medical College of Georgia rather than an institution such as Morehouse College, where "graduates, who are mostly black, are helping close the disparity in health between white and minority Georgians," Jones writes.
Speakers at the seminar also discussed "the challenge of simply finding translators for the plethora of languages spoken by immigrants and the notions about medicine and stigmas toward disease they bring with them that complicates health workers' jobs," Jones writes.
Jones continues, "In a state in which the white population will soon be in the minority, there are political implications in the perception of biased health policies," noting that the state has some of the fastest growing rates of Hispanics and Asians in the nation. He concludes, "As the next legislative session grinds through the chore of cutting the budget, it's likely that issues of race will linger in the back of the mind for at least some policymakers" (Jones, Newman Times-Herald, 10/6). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.