NC HEALTH REPORT: Costs, Access and CON -- Plus, Sen. Hagan's encouraging stand

November 19, 2009
Editors: Adam Searing and Adam Linker

HEALTH ACCESS COALITION TV: Our Channel

AT THE PROGRESSIVE PULSE:

Official statements from Senator Hagan and Senator Burr on the Senate's health bill today. Positions are becoming clearer.

See NC Blue Cross thanking the charitable Duke Endowment foundation for Blue's creation and existence.

Whatever happened to NC Senator Burr's bill to reform health care?

Duke oncologist Dr. Amy Abernethy brings a great perspective to the change in routine mammogram screening recommendations.

Red state, uninsured state, state opposed to health reform?

Senator Richard Burr's lies about health reform.

Why the routine mammogram screening change shouldn't be such a surprise.

Alex O'Connor on why we need to end the status quo of health care.

Other states conclude that random testing of state workers for smoking is simply not cost effective. McIntyre and Shuler - "True Blue" and inconsistent reasons on voting against health reform.

Congressman Larry Kissell gives his constituents the cold shoulder.

Melissa Reed on why the abortion debate should not be allowed to imperil health reform.

NC JUSTICE CENTER JOINS FIGHT TO HELP KEEP HEALTH COSTS DOWN AND HEALTH SERVICES AVAILABLE TO RURAL COMMUNITIES: We filed a brief in a lawsuit this week challenging NC's Certificate of Need laws that require the interests of low income and underserved residents to be taken into account when hospitals move or new health services are built. If you are interested in the research about how CON laws like NC's not only help make sure rural areas still have access to health care but also keep health costs down, the brief puts that together. And it does it in language you don't have to be a lawyer to understand!

CHECK OUT COMMENTATOR BARLOW HERGET and his "Letter to the Blue Dogs" on their votes against health reform.

REP. HEATH SHULER PARROTS HEALTH CARE LOBBYIST LANGUAGE: NC's Shuler inserted in the Congressional Record his own statement about health reform. Unfortunately, some of Shuler's words perfectly matched words written by health industry lobbyists. His spokesperson can't say whether there's anything wrong with that.

SENATOR HAGAN - WHERE IS SHE ON HEALTH REFORM? To state the obvious, we've been listening to Senator Hagan and speaking to her staff and others for quite a while on the health reform issue. As health reform moves forward in the Senate, our assessment of where Senator Hagan stands is very encouraging. She's consistently for a public option in reform. She's consistently talked about the importance of affordability - and helped pass the bill that provided very affordable premiums out of the Senate Health Committee. In recent days she's only reinforced these impressions. While the Senator isn't going to commit to specific language, her position on health care clearly puts the interests of her constituents first and that of insurance companies, other health industry and ideology firmly second.

In short, in the coming Senate debate we think Senator Hagan is going to be a force for affordable premiums, a public option plan to compete with monopoly NC Blue Cross, and responsible measures to control costs and improve care.  She's obviously been listening to the thousands and thousands of constituents who have called and written her to support reform.

BRIEFINGS ON STATE BUDGET HAPPENING ALL OVER NC: In November and December the NC Justice Center and United Way of NC are going across the state to present insightful analysis by our Budget and Tax Center experts and others on the sorry state of our budget. See the schedule.

TAX MODERNIZATION WORKSHOP IN RALEIGH: Wednesday, December 2nd, 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm; NCAE Auditorium; 700 South Salisbury Street; Raleigh, NC 27601; For more info contact Meg Gray - meg@ncjustice.org

FIVE FACTS ABOUT HEALTH REFORM: If you missed it last week, NC Policy Watch's Rob Schofield gives a great overview of the debate and the five key points any health advocate should have at their fingertips over the next few weeks as the rhetoric in the Senate heats up.

ON VACATION: The NC Health Report will be on vacation next week.

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