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June 13th, 2009
11:14 AM ET

America I AM

From writer-producer Elberta McKnight:

There was the so-called “Door of No Return” dimly lit in icy-blue. It is not a happy icon. Through this door, and other portals like it, slaves departed Ghana on their way to the New World. Nearby, on the floor, rests a pair of ominous steel shackles, once worn by a slave in a different century … at a different time. Yet, the image was enough to move one man to tears. He was seeing history like never seen before.

Tavis Smiley’s “America I AM” exhibit is powerful.

The collection spans almost 500 years and opened this week at its second stop on a four-year tour, in Atlanta, Georgia.

TJ Holmes caught up with the PBS journalist and the two had plenty to talk about:

Wake up with Betty Nguyen, TJ Holmes and Reynolds Wolf every Saturday and Sunday starting at 6am ET/3am PT.

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. sunny kravitz

    Healthcare Reform

    The insurance industry has geared up to influence health care reform. They will bombard Congress with political contributions and lobbyists. The media will enjoy a huge increase in ad revenues.

    I would like to suggest another approach.

    What if President Obama by Executive Order made Medicare payment schedules user friendly public information. HCFA can publish CPT schedules in a format that patients and doctors can readily understand and utilize. The President can ask medical providers to agree to accept Medicare pricing for the service provided, if the patient will pay the doctor directly at time of service with a medical credit card issued by either hospitals, banks or insurance carriers. One advantage is that all medical bills (hospitals, doctors, drugs and medical equipment) would be tracked on one database. Most importantly, doctors would no longer have the enormous back office costs of filing a claims form with various insurance companies on different forms and waiting months to get paid. Their financial savings would be enormous. Patients would soon be able to decide if 1st dollar insurance policies are really cost effective. They may well switch to high deductible catastrophic policies, which is really what insurance is supposed to protect against. Patients with verifiable low incomes can have the government pay their credit card bills on a sliding scale based on their income. This could eliminate Medicaid. The implications of this simple change are enormous and it can be done with little cost to government.

    Medicare pays doctors far less than insurance companies pay and far far below what an individual without insurance is billed. Doctors today, when they see a patient, do not even know when or how much they will be paid. All they know is that they have been forced to combine into group practices because of the enormous financial cost of filing claims and fighting with insurance companies over billings and procedure approvals.

    This is such a simple solution. Doctors know their patients, put them back in charge of their patient’s well being.

    June 13, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  2. Rose Petraglia

    Obama is brilliant! The Health Insurance Exchange is the way to go!
    I am about to open my own insurance brokerage company in New York, and seeing the number of uninsurable customers is devasting.

    Obama should also implement a Health Insurance Program, just like the Federal Flood Insurance Program, making it possible for Insurance Companies to provide insurance to customers they don't want to turn away. They could give a % of the premium to the Federal Government, and save the net in a fund in the event of a catastrophe, unlike a hurricane, but more of the older generations to come.

    June 13, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  3. Wayne Lamberth

    Health Care:
    All we hear about is the governmant proposals on " how to pay" for medical charges, never anything about why the medical charges are in freefall. I live in a town of fifteen thousand and we have three sleep clinics, several imaging clinics, several physical thearphy clinics, a new cancer radiation clinic to replace the one built just a few years ago, on and on it goes. All these wonderful facilities must be paid for and turn a profit. Our doctors are educated primarily at public expense, however a MD degree is a sure fire way to become a multi millionaire, especially when he/she is allowed to have their own imaging equipment, X-Ray and other facilities which duplicate those at the local hospital. Our problem is not how to pay, it is how to control the medical community.

    June 13, 2009 at 1:34 pm |

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