Going Back—Way Back
By Addie Greene
Perhaps I should have known when I entered the doctor’s office and was told by a disconcerted woman to use the “white” entrance. As I backed out I saw “colored” on the door, something I had failed to notice before. After all, I was from California, where such things did not exist. It was 1966, and I was 24 years old.
I arrived in Columbus, Georgia when my husband began his six-month Army Officer Candidate School training at Fort Benning. I was low on birth-control pills—not that I would be needing them for the first nine weeks of his course, when he would not be allowed off base and the only times I could see him were in church and in the day room under bright lights, along with the other spouses, for half an hour every evening.
The Army would not allow me to use post facilities—the PX and medical care—because I was not officially “at” Fort Benning. So I went to a local doctor, I’ll call him Jones, to renew my prescription.
The “white” waiting room not only had a separate door, it was totally closed off from the “colored” waiting room, so the patients of different skin colors could not see each other or even know that the others were present. I wondered at the time whether the examining rooms also were segregated and believe now that they must have been so that the “whites” never would feel contaminated. Dr. Jones must have felt himself magnanimous for agreeing to treat “colored” patients at all.
He appraised me with a sharp eye, hearing my non-Southern accent and knowing I was a military wife, and asked why I was there.
“To renew my prescription for Enovid,” I replied. (Enovid, the first hormonal birth control pill, had been approved by the FDA in 1960, and I had been taking it for three and a half years.)
His face reddened, and he glared at me. “You have no children?” he snapped.
“No. My husband doesn’t want them now because he will be going to Vietnam.”
“You’re a healthy young woman. You should be having children.”
I slumped out of the examining room and paid my bill.
If I had been older and more experienced, I would have known that there was a direct link between segregated waiting rooms and the doctor’s insistence on being the overlord of my personal, sexual, and moral life. After all, racism and misogyny are intertwined in our culture. Dr. Jones, a man of his time, was simply telling me that, as a woman, I was to remain barefoot and pregnant and pay obeisance to my man.
This is the world Trumpcare is taking us back to. This vicious piece of legislation will cost America 1.8 million jobs by 2020, according to Josh Bivens at the Economic Policy Institute. Oregon, fourth on the list behind New Mexico, Kentucky, and Montana, would lose 42,352 jobs in 2020 and nearly 30,000 in the three years preceding, with a drop in employment of 1.8%. Greg Walden’s District 2 faces a potential job loss of 39,529 through 2022, Bivens says.
Because the American Health Care Act cuts $880 billion from Medicaid, the bulk of the damage will be to poor people, but deductibles will rise by an average of $1500, and people in their fifties and early sixties will see premium increases up to 750%.
People with pre-existing conditions won’t be able to afford health insurance and will die.
All this to line the pockets of insurance companies and the super rich.