Sunday, June 03, 2012

Zack Reed on Health Care; Marcia Fudge and the Black Vote

Notwithstanding some off-the-field issues that have garnered him unwelcome headlines, Zack Reed has long been one of Cleveland City Council’s more thoughtful and energetic members. So it was no surprise that Reed was one of just a handful of area legislators at the White House African American Policy Forum held at the Cleveland Public Library’s main campus on Thursday.

Most of the forum dealt with economic policies that had particular resonance with urban and minority communities: small business initiatives, home ownership preservation, job training, etc.

The luncheon keynote speaker was Kenneth Munson, regional director of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Munson spoke to several of the positive provisions of the Affordable Care Act [ACA], including elimination of pre-existing health conditions as a basis for denying, restricting, or over-charging for health insurance; expanded coverage for young adults; and tying physician payments to the quality of care they provide.

While the state of the economy is likely to be the prime issues of the presidential election, I suspect that reminding the millions of voters whose families have already personally and directly benefited from health care reform that the ACA is a signal accomplishment of the Obama administration will become an increasingly key component of the president’s re-election strategy.

So I credit Councilman Reed for tackling the issue on his Sunday night call-in radio show, which airs at 8PM on WTAM-AM/1100. Reed’s guest will be Dr. Arthur Lavin, co-chair of Doctors for Health Care Solutions [DOCHS], which represents itself as a group 600 Cleveland- area doctors who care for more than half a million Clevelanders.

Reed bills tonight's show as a “debate”. He chuckled when I asked who would be representing the other side of the debate. “My listeners”, he said, noting that a large number of his radio audience seem to be Tea Party sympathizers, apparently a characteristic of the station’s overall audience.

We plan to tune in and check the show out. Meanwhile, you can get a heads-up on the DOCHS position by reading this op-ed piece, which appeared in today’s Plain Dealer and generated considerable controversy over at


Cleveland Congresswoman Marcia L Fudge, D-11, chaired a session this past at a summit on voting rights co-sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus and the Conference of National Black Churches. Fudge presided over the panel session that addressed with energizing constituents and congregants to vote. Let’s hope she was taking notes, because the turnout in her district — Ohio’s most reliable Democratic constituency — is certain to be critical to the President’s reelection chances.

The Fudge-led panel included MSNBC commentator and Cleveland native Jeff Johnson, as well as the redoubtable Los Angeles congresswoman Maxine Waters. If we are not mistaken, viewers can see Cleveland minister Eugene Ward asking a question about the potential for civil uprisings based on the depressed and depressing conditions afflicting many communities nationwide.

While Fudge discounted this likelihood, she did display a certain feistiness in promising to call out those black preachers who choose to sit on the sidelines rather than work to energize black voters.  You can view the session here on C-Span

If you don't want to watch the whole session just to catch the Congresswoman on her horse, write us at and we will clue to the appropriate segment.

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Finally, we're still working on Part II follow up to Friday's post on the Cleveland NAACP. Look for it after the organization's meeting on Tuesday, June 5.

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