Listener Slams Health Care Overhaul

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In this week's "BackTalk" segment, guest host Jacki Lyden and Tell Me More's "digital media guy" Lee Hill review listeners' responses to a recent conversation on the one year anniversary of President Obama's healthcare law. They also give an update on the story of Recy Taylor, who was gang-raped by a group of white men in 1944 in Alabama. The 91-year-old woman, who described her ordeal on Tell Me More, has finally received an apology from the town that refused to prosecute her case, because she was Black.

JACKI LYDEN, host:

Next, to Back Talk. It's the segment that lifts the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere, and where listeners get to talk back.

Lee Hill, the program's digital media guy is with me. It's really nice to see my fellow Milwaukian, hi there.

LEE HILL: Hey there Jacki, always a pleasure to see you as well. Well, it's been a year now since President Obama signed into law an overhaul of the nation's health care system. And as you know, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has drawn both high praise and heavy criticism.

This week, we talked to Dr. Garth Graham about the one-year anniversary. He's deputy assistant secretary for Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And he touted what he says the new law has done to decrease health care disparities.

Dr. GARTH GRAHAM (Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services): The Affordable Care Act is directly moving forward with providing health insurance and health insurance coverage and access to care for a number of individuals and certainly those from minority backgrounds.

HILL: And, Jacki, as I mentioned, not everyone is a fan of the health care overhaul, and there are those who strongly oppose it, like Joshua. I spoke with him after he posted this to our online forum.

JOSHUA: The Constitution outlines what the federal government's responsibilities are to its people, and nowhere in there is supply affordable health insurance. You know, I agree that something needs to be done, but it's not the responsibility of the federal government to provide us with insurance. It just isn't.

HILL: Thanks, Joshua.

LYDEN: And, Lee, we also have an update on the story that TELL ME MORE has been following. Last month, TELL ME MORE brought listeners the story of Recy Taylor. In 1944, when the African-American woman was 24 years old, Recy was gang raped by a group of white men in Alabama. Although two of the men reportedly admitted to the crime, no one was ever punished for it.

Here's Recy Taylor recalling what happened as chronicled in a new book.

Ms. RECY TAYLOR: A car run around the side of us. Six young men jumped out with a gun. They got me in the car, and carrying me straight through the woods. After they messed over and did what they was going to do with me, they said, we're going to take you back, but if you tell it, we're going to kill you.

LYDEN: Well, Lee, this week, leaders of the small Alabama community where it happened issued a formal apology to Taylor and her family. In the statement, officials acknowledged that racism hindered the case from being prosecuted saying, quote, "It's apparent that the system failed you in 1944."

Recy Taylor lives in Florida now. She's 91 years old. What else is going on, Lee?

HILL: Well, and just a reminded that at TELL ME MORE we will be celebrating National Poetry Month in April, and an occasional series called Muses and Metaphor will combine two passions of this program, Jacki, social media and poetry. We want listeners to go to Twitter and tweet us your original poetry using fewer than 140 characters, of course, and we will air our favorites. Just tweet us using the hashtag #TMMPOETRY. Again, the hashtag is #TMMPOETRY.

LYDEN: I'll look forward to that, Lee. Thanks so much.

HILL: Thanks, Jacki.

LYDEN: And remember, with TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. You can call the comment line at 202-842-3522. You can also find us on Twitter, just look for TELL ME MORE NPR.

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