Has Obamacare found its Bull Connor?

Health care reform in the United States—“Obamacare”—continues to face a bumpy road, according to health policy expert John McDonough of Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). Writing in his Boston Globe blog “Health Stew” on September 1, 2013, McDonough, professor of the practice of public health and director of the Center for Public Health Leadership, explored how one southern official is doing everything he can to fight implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Georgia insurance commissioner Ralph Hudgens has been bragging openly about trying to obstruct Obamacare, McDonough wrote. He compared the commissioner to Theophilus Eugene “Bull” Connor, the Birmingham, Alabama public safety commissioner who became notorious for ordering the use of fire hoses and police attack dogs against peaceful demonstrators during the civil rights era. The ACA, McDonough added, is a civil rights as well as a human rights issue, since 55% of all nonelderly uninsured Americans are nonwhite and stand to benefit disproportionately from the ACA’s coverage expansions.

In his two prior blog posts, McDonough explored other health care reform issues. In his August 28 post, McDonough cited Kaiser Health Tracking Poll results showing that more than 4 out of every 10 Americans are unsure whether the ACA is still law. “Wow,” McDonough wrote. He also noted that while 42% have an unfavorable opinion about the law, 57% oppose cutting off funding for implementation.

On August 25, McDonough discussed recent quality-of-care controversies plaguing the British National Health Service. “Every NHS development is grist for the never-ending U.S. debate over the role of markets versus government in health policy,” he wrote.

Read John McDonough’s “Health Stew” blog

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