WHAT'S THE ASK: What Should We Ask Elected Officials To Do About Healthcare Reform? (VIDEO) | Roland Martin Reports

WHAT’S THE ASK: What Should We Ask Elected Officials To Do About Healthcare Reform? (VIDEO)

Everyone has been waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on the President’s healthcare law. We’ve had lots of talk saying it might’ve been two weeks ago, last week. Since they end the session next week, it probably will be next week.

Polls show most folks want the Supreme Court to throw it out, but here’s the problem with that. In that particular poll, a number of those people believe the law didn’t go far enough, which is one of the reasons they want it thrown out – not surprising since opponents have spent more than $235 million on ads condemning what they call “Obamacare.”

One way it might’ve all been different is if voters had demanded answers from all the candidates for Congress on where they stood on healthcare reform before the elections. Since we might have to go through the process again, it’s important to know what is the ask when it comes to healthcare.

Dr. Cedric Bright, president of the National Medical Association joined Roland Martin on the set of Washington Watch to discuss this and more.

MR. MARTIN:  Everyone has been waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on the President’s healthcare law.  We’ve had lots of talk saying it might’ve been two weeks ago, last week.  Since they end the session next week, it probably will be next week.

Polls show most folks want the Supreme Court to throw it out, but here’s the problem with that.  In that particular poll, a number of those people believe the law didn’t go far enough, which is one of the reasons they want it thrown out – not surprising since opponents have spent more than $235 million on ads condemning what they call “Obamacare.”

One way it might’ve all been different is if voters had demanded answers from all the candidates for Congress on where they stood on healthcare reform before the elections.  Since we might have to go all through the process again, it’s important to know what is the ask when it comes to healthcare.  Here to talk about that is Dr. Cedric Bright, president of the National Medical Association, the group of Black, Afric- — Black doctors.

Cedric, first of all, welcome to the show.

DR. CEDRIC BRIGHT:  Thank you.

MR. MARTIN:  Healthcare is –

DR. BRIGHT:  Glad to be here.

MR. MARTIN:  — a huge issue for African-Americans.  When you look at even – when it comes to so many different diseases, we, frankly, rank at the top or, some say, at the bottom, depending on how you want to look at it.

DR. BRIGHT:  Exactly.

MR. MARTIN:  And so what is the NMA demanding of candidates who come to your organization talking about healthcare?  What are you saying, “This is what we want,” on the federal level, the state and the local level?

DR. BRIGHT:  Well, from the state loc- — from the state level, we want to know that they will back Medicaid, because Medicaid is the major player for the sickest and the poorest of our health system patients.  Number two, we want to know that they support the Affordable Care Act for either full or partial implementation.  A lot of implications behind that, and the Supreme Court decision is very large.  And then, thirdly, we want to know that they’re going to participate at the state level with the health ins- — health insurance exchanges.  Those are going to be very crucial, that we make sure that people have affordable access to health insurance.

MR. MARTIN:  I would also think that, on a local level, what voters should be saying is – to these candidates – “Do you support this community health clinic?”

DR. BRIGHT:  Well, you know – and, honestly, with that, Roland, what we really look at is how are our federally qualified health centers – which are safety net organizations –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

DR. BRIGHT:  — being funded?  And they majorly are funded by a 330 grant, and that 330 grant, under the previous administration, had not had any increases for eight years.  We now have had significant increases in the 330 grant that have now allowed our community health centers to try to expand –

MR. MARTIN:  And that grant – [crosstalk] –

DR. BRIGHT:  — some of that –

MR. MARTIN:  — [crosstalk].

DR. BRIGHT:  — coverage.  That’s correct.

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

DR. BRIGHT:  It’s a federal government grant.

The other aspect of that is, though, many of the patients that utilize those services are our working poor.  They’re either uninsured or under insured; and the problem with that is, Roland – is that one of the major causes of these folks going into bankruptcy is because of healthcare costs.  That’s where the Affordable Care Act comes into play, that – allowing them to be able to access, or have access, with some type of supplementation to get affordable health insurance that will cau- — have them to have the – the ability to be more proactive –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

DR. BRIGHT:  — in their health, as opposed to less reactive [sic].  We like to look at it this way.  We would prefer that people stay healthy longer, rather than to get well soon.

MR. MARTIN:  Well, I’ll tell you what.  Those are – those are our specific things folks should be asking for; and, certainly, we hope our viewers will be doing so when it comes to federal, state and local candidates who’re running for office.

Cedric, we appreciate it.  Thanks a lot.

DR. BRIGHT:  Thank you so much.  Appreciate it.

MR. MARTIN:  All right.  He’s going to give me a free blood pressure check when we get done.

You can – [chuckles] – tell us what your thoughts are on “What’s the Ask?” by logging onto tvone.tv/ask.  Here’s a comment already posted.  BH Sherrod says, quote:

“How do we understand the value of economic development?  Meaning we must go in business for ourselves – and especially opening businesses in neighborhoods that consistently suffer with blight and distress where we live.  Therefore, we must ask the Obama Administration to tailor programs for this endeavor.”

You can add your comments at tvone.tv/ask.  So, please log on.