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Power to Heal: Medicare and the Civil Rights Revolution, by BLB Film Productions, LLC

Power to Heal: Medicare and the Civil Rights Revolution, by BLB Film Productions, LLC MEDIAREVIEWS PowertoHeal:MedicareandtheCivilRightsRevolution.2018.Producers:Barbara Berney,RobertaFriedman,andDanielLoewenthal;Directors:CharlesBurnett andDanielLoewenthal.BLBFilmProductions.www.blbfilmproductions.com PowertoHeal:MedicareandtheCivilRightsRevolutionusesthehistoryofrace andhealthpolicytoillustratehowblackmedicalandcivilrightsleaders,grass roots activists, and the federal government worked together to desegregate America’s hospitals, and secure more equitable and accessible healthcare for black Americans. The film expands the narrative of the civil rights movement beyondafightforvotingprivileges,jobs,education,andhousingtoincludea lesserknownbattletheeradicationofaraciallyseparateandunequalhealth- caresystem. Power to Heal employs an impressive range of primary sources, includ- ing oral histories with nurses and community members, photographs, and archival data to advance the argument that Medicare legislation desegregated our nation’s hospitals. With the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Social Security Amendments Act of 1965, which created Medicare and Medicaid,thefederalgovernmenthadbothalegislativemandatetoguarantee all citizens equal access to hospitals that received federal funds, and a univer- sal insurance program to enforce it. Simply put, hospitals that did not com- ply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act which “forbade discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin” would be denied Medicare reim- bursement.¹Indramaticstyle,viewersexperiencethefranticpushbyPresident Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration to successfully integrate thousands of hospitalsinjust3months,andintheprocess,avertanationalcrisisthatwould haveleftcountlessMedicarebeneficiarieswithoutaccesstomedicalcare. Thediversityinauthoritativevoiceisakeystrengthofthefilmthathelps move the narrative beyond the stereotypical depiction of black Americans as merely powerless victims of Jim Crow racism and neglect, and highlights the racial uplift that was occurring within the black community prior to federal intervention.Asthefilmdemonstrates,blackphysiciansestablishedandoper- http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Nursing History Review Springer Publishing

Power to Heal: Medicare and the Civil Rights Revolution, by BLB Film Productions, LLC

Nursing History Review , Volume 28 (1): 3 – Sep 19, 2019

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Publisher
Springer Publishing
Copyright
© 2020 Springer Publishing Company
ISSN
1062-8061
eISSN
1938-1913
DOI
10.1891/1062-8061.28.196
Publisher site
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Abstract

MEDIAREVIEWS PowertoHeal:MedicareandtheCivilRightsRevolution.2018.Producers:Barbara Berney,RobertaFriedman,andDanielLoewenthal;Directors:CharlesBurnett andDanielLoewenthal.BLBFilmProductions.www.blbfilmproductions.com PowertoHeal:MedicareandtheCivilRightsRevolutionusesthehistoryofrace andhealthpolicytoillustratehowblackmedicalandcivilrightsleaders,grass roots activists, and the federal government worked together to desegregate America’s hospitals, and secure more equitable and accessible healthcare for black Americans. The film expands the narrative of the civil rights movement beyondafightforvotingprivileges,jobs,education,andhousingtoincludea lesserknownbattletheeradicationofaraciallyseparateandunequalhealth- caresystem. Power to Heal employs an impressive range of primary sources, includ- ing oral histories with nurses and community members, photographs, and archival data to advance the argument that Medicare legislation desegregated our nation’s hospitals. With the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Social Security Amendments Act of 1965, which created Medicare and Medicaid,thefederalgovernmenthadbothalegislativemandatetoguarantee all citizens equal access to hospitals that received federal funds, and a univer- sal insurance program to enforce it. Simply put, hospitals that did not com- ply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act which “forbade discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin” would be denied Medicare reim- bursement.¹Indramaticstyle,viewersexperiencethefranticpushbyPresident Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration to successfully integrate thousands of hospitalsinjust3months,andintheprocess,avertanationalcrisisthatwould haveleftcountlessMedicarebeneficiarieswithoutaccesstomedicalcare. Thediversityinauthoritativevoiceisakeystrengthofthefilmthathelps move the narrative beyond the stereotypical depiction of black Americans as merely powerless victims of Jim Crow racism and neglect, and highlights the racial uplift that was occurring within the black community prior to federal intervention.Asthefilmdemonstrates,blackphysiciansestablishedandoper-

Journal

Nursing History ReviewSpringer Publishing

Published: Sep 19, 2019

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