Wednesday, May 28, 2014


By Mildred Robertson
After a valiant fight against lung cancer, on Wednesday, May 21 at about 8 p.m. Central Standard Time, 51-year-old Dwayne C. Cox transitioned from earth to Heaven. His battle had been a long one, even though, much of the time he did not know his enemy’s nature. You see, he had no health insurance and was not diagnosed with cancer until it was too late.
He knew he was sick. He knew it was serious. He sought help, making numerous trips to the emergency room, only to be sent home with some pain meds, and a diagnosis of a pulled muscle, or no diagnosis at all.
Dwayne was one of the masses of people who make enough to live, but not to afford the luxury of a health insurance policy. He was fairly young, robust, and early on, it seemed like a good gamble to choose other expenditures over health insurance premiums.
And the system just was not that concerned about him. 
Months before his death, he decided to make yet another trip to the emergency room. This time, he said, he would not leave until they told him what was wrong with him. He prayed to God to move on his behalf, and his prayer was answered. He was diagnosed with end-stage lung cancer and he finally began to get treatment.
But it was too late. They even enrolled him in a clinical trial to attempt to prolong his life—but, it was too late.   
You see, I do not believe Dwayne had to die right now. Had his illness been diagnosed earlier his life most likely could have been prolonged, or perhaps even saved. Life is not something you should have to purchase. Whether you live or die should not depend upon your bank account. Treatable illnesses should not be turned into death sentences. Unnecessary pain and suffering should not have to be endured because of economic status. Help should not be withheld until the end is obvious and inevitable.
According to the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, North Carolina is among 19 states not moving forward with Medicaid expansion. There are 27 states, including Washington D.C., that are implementing expansion and 5 states in open debate about it.  Missouri, where Dwayne lived, has opted out of Medicaid expansion. Had the benefits of the Affordable Care Act been available to him, would he still be alive?
In my home state of North Carolina there are 168,000 uninsured people eligible for Medicaid; 130,000 of them children. Nationwide, there are 3.6 million uninsured individuals who are eligible for Medicaid, but won’t get it because the state they live in has opted not to expand Medicaid coverage. According to a New York Times Poll, more than half the people in many of those states support the expansion. 

Universal health care is not about politics. It is about people.

Dwayne was a father, a brother, a son, a nephew, a grandfather, who died too soon. That is why state legislatures that stand in the way of coverage for the nation’s most vulnerable are so insidious.  That is why the expansion of Medicaid is so essential.
For Dwayne, it is too late. But for millions who live without the safety of healthcare coverage, there is still time.

Raise your voice. Demand universal expansion of Medicaid coverage.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


By Mildred Robertson

If you are a former foster child between the ages of 18-26, you may be eligible to enroll in Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). ACA allows young adults coming out of the foster care system to get Medicaid coverage, regardless of income, until they reach the age of 26, just as other young adults are able to remain on their parent’s health plan.
According to “Stateline Weekly,” about 26,000 young adults ages 18-22 years leave the foster care system each year. These young adults are left without state protection. But ACA grants these individuals full Medicaid coverage until they reach 26 in the state where they lived when they left the foster care system.
The problem however, is that many eligible young adults are not participating in the program. Former foster children many times are transient, relocating to go to school, find jobs, reunite with family, or are simply homeless. According to “Stateline Weekly,” 26,000 young adults leave foster care each year without permanent homes.
It is imperative that we get the word out about the availability of this valuable resource to young adults who sorely need the health coverage. Under ACA, they are entitled to it, whether the state they live in participated in the health exchange or not.
Under the Chaffee option, a provision of the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999, young adults released from foster care were eligible for Medicaid until they reached 21 years of age. Now, under ACA, that coverage is extended to the age of 26. It is not part of the Medicaid expansion, so the benefit applies in all states, not just the ones that expanded Medicaid.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Lewinsky Irrelevant to Political Discourse

Monica Lewinsky – Really?

By Mildred Robertson
Okay. I get that keeping the blue dress did not work out like you planned; nor did your little romp under the presidential desk. But do you really think you can be made relevant again because Hillary may run for the White House?
It is sad that Lewinsky can get a spread in a major magazine because at one time she made a horrible mistake and consorted with a married man. It is even sadder that some might consider the ill-conceived affair between Lewinsky and Bill Clinton an issue relevant to whether Hillary Clinton is qualified to be the first female elected to the highest office in the nation.
The affair does not reflect on Hilliary’s character, but that of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky—neither of whom is running for president. While Republican opponents will do their best to make Lewinsky an issue; and she will do her best to become fodder for the nightly news, the affair just doesn’t matter as it relates to presidential politics.
The stakes are too high, and the cause too important to let a “reality TV” mentality dictate the nation’s political debate. The nation is currently emerging from one of the most devastating economic downturns in recent history. Heightened racial tension is supplanting the perceived “post-racial” society that many proclaimed upon Obama’s election.  Scientists are telling us that global warming is not a future threat, but one that we face today. Voting rights are being threatened throughout the South and millions of Americans go to work every day, but still can’t afford adequate food or housing.
So let’s get to the facts. Where does Hillary stand on the minimum wage; job creation, universal healthcare, education, social and racial justice, global warming and international conflicts across the globe?  These are questions that will determine whether she is fit to lead the most powerful nation in the world.
It is too early for me to determine who I will support in the 2016 Presidential election. I do want to determine how the candidate that I support will address issues of national concern. But I can guarantee that a philandering husband will not be among the measures that I use to make my choice.