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Report Reveals Characteristics of Uninsured Minorities

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By Stacy M. Brown
Special to the NNPA from The Washington Informer

Randy Wheeling, Curtis Washington and Frankie Rossi each signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

For Wheeling, a cable technician who lives in Northeast, signing up meant that he could finally breathe easier when making appointments with a primary care physician.

“The co-pay was $50, it’s now $20, and I just couldn’t see going unless there was something really wrong,” said Wheeling, 42.

Washington, an automobile mechanic who also lives in Northeast, said his new insurance represents the first time that he isn’t being covered by his spouse or parents. “It’s a little bit of freedom,” said the 29 year old.

Rossi, who lives in Northwest, said the new policy he received by signing up through the federal health care exchange, provided him with a fresh perspective.

“It gives me hope that someone in a position of power does care about minorities,” said Rossi, 37.

Despite the positive experiences of the three men and the advances made by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), African-Americans and Latinos still represent the largest portion of the country’s uninsured population.

A June 30 report by the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Rockville, Maryland, examined the characteristics of uninsured adult males by race and ethnicity, using the most recent data from the 2012 American Community Survey.

The report revealed that, among uninsured adult males ages 19-34, Latino and African-American males counted among the highest group without health care.

Dr. J. Nadine Gracia, the deputy assistant secretary for Minority Health and the director of the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said improvements have been realized in coverage for minorities.

“The Affordable Care Act is one of the most significant laws to help reduce disparities in health and access to care. During the first historic open enrollment period, minority men, many who may have previously been locked out of the health insurance market because of a pre-existing condition or  simply because of its unaffordability, were able to obtain health care coverage and will now have the security that health insurance provides,” Gracia said.

“Thanks to the ACA, millions of minorities are seeing the benefits and are now able to access preventive services at no additional cost. Furthermore, the ACA is addressing disparities among minority communities by increasing the number of community health centers and the services they offer which serve as safety nets for the most vulnerable and underserved, where nearly two out of three patients served in community health centers are racial and ethnic minorities,” she said.

The U.S. has one of the most expensive health care systems in the world, yet the life expectancy and infant mortality rates are often middle of the road at best, said Dr. Jean J.E. Bonhomme, founder of the National Black Men’s Health Network based in Atlanta.

While data shows disparities among uninsured males, progress has been made in increasing access to health care coverage, officials said.

Over the course of the first Health Insurance Marketplace enrollment period, more than 8 million people signed up as part of the ACA.

New Legislation for Caribbean Immigrants ID Cards

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Special to the NNPA from the New York Carib News

CMC – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed legislation to create a municipal identification card for Caribbean and other immigrants living in the city, including undocumented persons.

“Even for those who already have IDs, we’re going to make sure that this card brings a lot to the equation, a lot of benefits that will go with it,” said deBlasio, whose wife, Chirlane, traces her roots to Barbados.

“But for those who don’t have ID, it’s going to be crucial,” he said when signing the on to the new law Thursday.

Although de Blasio originally wanted the ID card law to roll out before the end of the year, it’s now scheduled to launch in January, the New York Daily News reported.

The mayor assured undocumented Caribbean applicants for the new ID card that they will not be asked about their immigration status.

“We want all New Yorkers to feel very comfortable working with the police,” deBlasio said. “We want them to be very able to identify themselves to the police and do it in an atmosphere of safety.

“This is going to play a crucial role in deepening the relationship between police and community, including a lot of our immigrant communities,” he added.

City Councilmen Carlos Menchaca and Daniel Dromm, who sponsored the measure, said the bill would allow a large section of the city’s marginalized populations to receive benefits and access to simple services like opening a bank account or renting an apartment.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the first Puerto Rican-born elected official to hold the position in New York City, described the bill as ‘historic’.

“Today, we’re living up to our highest ideals, and today we’re saying that no one should be left out,” she said.

Officials said the ID card will be free of cost during the first year, adding that there will be walk-in enrollment centers, along with online applications.

Mugabe Orders Caucasian Farmers to Evacuate Zimbabwe Again

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By W.A.T.E.R. 17
Special to the NNPA from the New York Amsterdam News

Echoing similar sentiments from a decade ago, on July 2, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe demanded that the remaining European “landowners” rightfully return “their property” to his nation’s indigenous inhabitants.

Implementing one of the harshest policies in his country’s land reform movement, Mugabe addressed farmers in Mhangura, a small mining town about 120 miles north of its capital Harare.

“I have been given a list of 35 white farmers in Mashonaland West alone and in just a few districts that have been audited. We say no to whites owning our land and they should go,” Mugabe told the crowd. “They can own companies and apartments … but not the soil. It is ours, and that message should ring loud and clear in Britain and the United States.”

Mugabe suggested that the several hundred remaining Caucasian colonizing farmers should leave. He also refused to allow Caucasian families renting farms from African owners to stay, which is what some had been doing since being violently chased away and having their farms seized a decade ago.

“There are white farmers who are still on the land and have the protection of some cabinet ministers and politicians as well as traditional leaders … that should never happen,” he stated. “They [Caucasians] were living like kings and queens on our land, and we chucked them out. Now we want all of it.”

Mugabe, 90, has governed Zimbabwe since its independence in 1980. He came to power on the heels of the Lancaster House Agreement, which established that he couldn’t make any land reform changes for a decade. After numerous attempts to redistribute land back to Africans, in 2000, the Zimbabwe government instituted the Fast-Track Land Reform Program, which violently forced Caucasian farmers off “their lands” without compensation.

The government reportedly seized 110,000 square kilometers of land, and millions of Black farmers were said to have become unemployed. By 2005, the Parliament agreed to nationalize all farmland, silencing farmers who wanted to contest the land grab in court.

A decade and a half ago, Mugabe, a former guerrilla leader, embarked on a revolutionary nationwide campaign for land reacquisition, where his supporters forced thousands of Caucasian commercial farmers to turn over their territory under a so-called “indigenization” land reform policy.

Caucasians began heavily populating Zimbabwe in the 1890s. The Land Apportionment Act of 1930 divided the lands by ethnicities (Shona, Ndebele, etc.). While traditionally Africans had shared the lands communally, the Caucasians’ presence offset nature’s balance.

The Caucasian population flourished while the native inhabitants were relocated to low rainfall areas, forcing 99 percent of the population onto 25 percent of the land. By 1979, Caucasians only made up about 5 percent of the population, with only 4,500 farmers, yet they owned 70 percent of the fertile land.

Mugabe was reelected last summer to his fifth consecutive term with 61 percent of the vote while outing his own associates who make lucrative profits by owning farmland and renting it to Caucasians. Mugabe characterized this practice as unpatriotic under his notions of indigenous Black African nationalism. The president’s Zanu-PF party also gained a parliamentary majority of more than two-thirds, winning 160 of the 210 seats.

Following this presentation, the 90-year-old leader collapsed. It was reported that he was immediately rushed back to Harare for evaluation. Rumors about Mugabe’s health have circulated for some time, but as he is advancing in age, speculation has increased over the years.

Despite official denials, it is widely believed that Mugabe is being treated for prostate cancer.

Korean Comedians Weat Blackface Again: Will They Ever Stop?

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By Steve Han
Special to the NNPA from New America Media via KoreAm

When we saw that Gag Concert, a popular comedy show on South Korea’s state-run TV network KBS, featured comedians wearing blackface makeup (again), we were stuck asking ourselves the same old question.

Will they ever get it?

The June 29th episode of Gag Concert showed two people wearing blackface makeup and costumes that resemble African tribal clothes.

“Your make up was done so well,” one performer says in Korean. “I almost thought it was real. Wow, look how black your elbows are.”

This is the second time this year that Gag Concert resorted to a blackface comedy in its skit. Just this past February, the show’s actors painted their faces in dark colors and wore wigs to portray black characters.

The fact that these skits continue to happen, despite backlash and subsequent apologies, is another sign that racial sensitivity is taken with a grain of salt among many South Koreans. A 2011 skit on Saturday Night Live Korea featured comedians who painted their faces black to depict the Dreamgirls.

Caribbean Steps Up Fight for Payment from Europe

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By Bert Wilkinson
Special to the NNPA from the New York Amsterdam News

Not surprisingly, Caribbean trade bloc leaders, who wrapped up their four-day main annual summit in the small but idyllic eastern Caribbean island of Antigua on the weekend, pressed on the accelerator regarding their demand for payment from European nations that participated in and benefitted from the African slave trade.

Since they first threw their weight behind the Rastafarian Movement and other civil society groups for justice at the Trinidad summit exactly one year ago, the region has become more organized and increasingly determined to make Europe compensate member nations in the form of cash, official apologies and assistance in improving the regional infrastructure for health, education, policing and other key areas.

The final communiqué, issued at the end of the meeting, showed that the leaders, after extensive discussions among themselves and briefings from the regional umbrella body organizing the case of the Caribbean against Europe, decided to ask for a Caribbean-Europe reparations summit sometime later this year or early in 2015.

That meeting, officials said, will be used as the main sounding board to determine whether a negotiated settlement will be arrived at or whether the case for reparations will have to be taken to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands.

Britain, one of the key nations that snatched Africans from the continent, put them on slave ships and dumped them on sugar and other plantations, forcing them to work in oppressive conditions without a cent in pay, has already said it will not recognize the case or pay any money.

However, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair might have well weakened the British stance against payment because he had, back in 2007, expressed regret for the “unbearable suffering” caused by the UK’s role in slavery. He did not consider the expression of regret as an apology, though. In 2010, then French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he had found it necessary to acknowledge “the wounds of colonization” and as a gesture cancelled $56M Euros of debt owed by Haiti.

The leaders think the Caribbean region has a strong case for payment and have taken heart from other international judgments against Europe in this regard. The UK, The Netherlands, France, Spain and Portugal are among nations firmly in the sights of the Caribbean leaders.

To this end, governments have already met and reviewed parts of the arguments with the British law firm, Leigh Day, the firm that won $21.5M in compensation payments for surviving Kenyan Mau Mau fighters who were brutalized and tortured by the British government during an anti-colonial rebellion against oppression in the 1950s and 1960s.

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