(This column is cross-posted at the Huffington Post.)
I wonder what Dr. King would think about the current health reform debate. OK I donâ€™t really wonder. Here, for example, are his comments, apparently made here in Chicago:
Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.
Martin Luther King supported health care as a human right. He also knew how far we had to go as a nation in making that right a reality.
King was the energizing force behind the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). I suspect he would be ashamed but unsurprised to see his home region so resistant to the basic expansion of health insurance coverage to Americans with incomes below the poverty line. To some extent, the extent of southern resistance is obscured by maps such as the oneÂ below, that display which states have rejected the Medicaid expansioÂÂÂn around the country:
Harvard post-doctoral researcher Laura Yasaitis is an expert at drawing different kinds of maps. At my request, she made me a map in which the size of every state was proportional to the number of people who landed in the â€œMedicaid gap.â€ (She couldnâ€™t quite do that, since states such as California and New York would simply vanish. We drew each of these states as if they had shut out 2,000 state residents instead of zero. She also taught me how to make Cartograms. SO you may see more such items in this space.)
When we did all that, hereâ€™s what the US map would like if it were scaled by the number of affected people in each state (see below): Continue Reading…