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Cornell Speaker Series on Health, Equity, & Democracy

Photo from Cornell University website.

Medicare and Medicaid are good for everyone, even those who don't use either federal program. WBFO’s Mike Desmond reports those are the views of a Cornell University faculty member speaking to a group of university alums Thursday evening in Buffalo.

Jamila Michener appeared at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site on Delaware Avenue, speaking as part of the Cornell Faculty Speaker Series on ‘Health, Equity, and Democracy’.  

Michener is also the author of a new book on Medicaid, federalism and unequal politics. She grew up in Queens, with parents who worked hard to provide a happy life. Then, she moved into the elite, Princeton and a doctoral program at the University of Chicago, offering a wildly different perspective on life.

Michener said Medicare and Medicaid have really helped many people who use the programs.

“As far as people's health and well-being, even financial, stabilizing folks financially so you don't go bankrupt when you get sick. These programs have been absolutely transformative in our country. It's sad now to see how we have this language of entitlement and this and it kind of dampens the reality of how programs that help people to live well are part of the social compact,” Michener discussed.

Michener said ensuring that poor people of all races have good health care helps everyone. As an example, she said making sure all the children in a classroom have been vaccinated ensures those who don't need the social programs aren't affected in a bad way by those who might not have been vaccinated.

“Many of us our children go to school with lots of other children from lots of other different kinds of backgrounds and do we want children in the class who don't have that kind of access and are sick? I mean it really is important to emphasize that when it comes to a resource like health that we all benefit from having more of it,” Michener explained.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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