The Fight for Health Care is a Civil Rights Struggle

The health care fight is hot right now. The Republicans are working to repeal the Affordable Care Act, possibly without a replacement until a later date, and the Democrats are largely ignoring their base’s pleas for Medicare for All, with some exceptions. People across the United States are taking bold action to prevent cuts to health coverage, especially to Medicaid, and to pressure lawmakers to support Medicare for All. We speak with Professor David Barton Smith about the history of our social insurances and racism, including the way Medicare was used to by the civil rights movement to desegregate thousands of hospitals. Then we speak about the status of the current healthcare fight and what we must do to win National Improved Medicare for all.


Listen here:

Relevant articles and websites:

The Power to Heal: Civil Rights, Medicare and the Struggle to Transform America’s Health System

What You Need to Know About the Bill for Improved Medicare for All by Margaret Flowers

Health Over Profit



David Barton Smith is Emeritus Professor at Temple University and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management in the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University. He is the author of seven books, more than forty journal articles and numerous research projects.   He was awarded a 1995 Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Research Investigator Award for research on the history and legacy of the racial segregation of health care and continues to lecture widely on this topic. His most recent book, The Power to Heal: Civil Rights, Medicare and the Struggle to Transform America’s Health System (Vanderbilt Press 2016 in press) received the Goldberg Prize for the best book in the area of medicine this year.  David is also assisting in the development of a companion documentary supported by the National Endowment for Humanities,produced by Barbara Berney, currently in the editing process that will tentatively air on PBS stations later this year in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the implementation of Medicare.