Georgia Says

The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle on maternal death rate must be brought down:

Let's be honest. Our health-care system, arguably the best in the world, has never done prevention very well. It's almost been an afterthought, if a thought at all.

That's the height of shortsightedness. It costs more in the long run - more money, more pain, more suffering, more lives - to ignore prevention and skip to treatment once disease sets in.

We need to change that, and here's some very good motivation: Georgia is first in the nation in the numbers of women who die during pregnancy or in their children's first year of life.

And the 13-county Augusta health district leads the state in that purely awful statistic. In fact, Augusta's East Central Health District has two-and-a-half times the maternal deaths as the rest of the state and six times the national rate.

We need to find out why.

The state has formed a "maternal mortality committee" to investigate the relatively high mortality rate for pregnant women and young mothers in the region. We look forward to their findings. 

This page has been highly critical of the law. We believe its government-centric approach is simply the wrong prescription for what ails us. We're not the only ones to harbor that dread: Democrat Sen. Max Baucus of Montana famously said he sees Obamacare as a coming train wreck. And a top Obama administration official admitted last week its rollout would be messy.

Then again, Republicans who opposed Obamacare did a dismal job of putting forth their own remedy, and were caught flat-footed and got completely out-maneuvered. Then they nominated the only presidential candidate they could find - Mitt Romney - who was unable to make Obamacare an issue, since he'd presided over a similar measure as governor of Massachusetts.

They've got no one to blame but themselves.

Whatever the system, we've got to unite and bring down the maternal death rate here. It's a disgrace, particularly for a region with some of the best hospitals, doctors and researchers in the Southeast.

Understanding the problem must lead to a solution.


Savannah (Ga.) Morning News on voting rights decision:

Georgia is a different place today than it was almost 50 years ago when Congress approved the Voting Rights Act in 1965, a much-needed and transformative piece of legislation.

So is Savannah and Chatham County. And thank goodness.

Today, Georgians are generally more educated and more prosperous than they were a half-century ago. They have more opportunities. Housing is better. So is health care. So are highways and streets.

When it comes to representative government that mirrors citizens, there's no comparison between past and present. Things are vastly improved in this corner of the South.

That's why last week's 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that declared a portion of this landmark law unconstitutional is worthy of applause.

It must be pointed out that the nation's highest court didn't strike down the Voting Rights Act. 

The same year the Voting Rights Act was passed, the three largest local representative bodies — Savannah City Council, Chatham County Commission and Savannah-Chatham County school board — were almost entirely white. The lone exception was Esther Garrison. She was appointed to the school board in 1964. She wasn't elected to the board until later, when board members had to win elections to serve, rather than gain appointments.

But today, four of the nine members of the countywide school board are African-American. The same is true with the Chatham County Commission. That's to be expected, as the county has a white majority.

Savannah City Council, however, has a black majority. Six of its nine members are African-American. It's a percentage that reflects a majority-black population within city limits. ...

It won't be easy, given the partisanship in Washington. But it must be done, so as to prevent the dilution of minority voting through such practices as creating too many at-large districts and blatant gerrymandering.

Concern that this law might whither because of gridlock is valid. The best remedy for that malady is voter participation — by people of all races. That's because when the people lead, leaders generally follow.



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