NC HEALTH REPORT: June 24 Child Lobby Day in Raleigh; June 25 Health Reform Lobby Day in Washington

June 18, 2009

Editors: Adam Searing and Adam Linker

HEALTH ACCESS COALITION TV: Check out all our videos on HAC's YouTube channel.
 
VIDEO: Obama tells the American Medical Association that reform is critical.
 
VIDEO: Cary mom Maria Durango talks to Adam about the importance of NC Health Choice and Medicaid for her kids.
 
VIDEO: More than 100 organizations rallied in Raleigh to demand that lawmakers raise new revenues instead of balancing the budget with cuts alone.
 
PROGRESSIVE PULSE:
 
Small Business Majority, an active group in national health reform, released a report on the economic impact that several of the proposals coming out of Washington will have on small businesses. It is critical to hear from real small business owners instead of large corporations and other spokespeople who purport to speak for all companies - that's why the Health Access Coalition is holding small business roundtables across the state.
 
Chris Fitzsimon is exposing the misleading right-wing rhetoric on health reform. He also points out that several key Democrats, including Kay Hagan, have significant investments in the health care industry. Fitzsimon is also worried about some of North Carolina's House delegation meeting with the Blue Dog Coalition, a group that seems hostile to a public health insurance option.
 
Adam Searing says that a little competition for Blue Cross might do us good given they have a virtual monopoly in NC. He also has the calendar for health reform over the next two months - this is crunch time for shaping good legislation.
 
We know that the recently passed State Health Plan legislation included a punitive "wellness" program, now lawmakers are discussing how to enforce these harmful provisions. One proposal is to kick any state employee caught lying off of the State Health Plan for one year. Lawmakers are apparently not satisfied North Carolinians are losing insurance at staggering rates. They are looking for ways to accelerate that trend.
 
Recently laid-off small business employees are eligible for extended COBRA coverage - spread the word.
 
Andrea Verykoukis notes that Reynolds shipped in employees to protest cigarette taxes. She also argues that corporate America is undermining its own self-interest by not championing health reform.
 
OBAMA AND MS SOCIETY - ALLOW GENERIC DRUGS FOR MS TREATMENT: Earlier this week when President Obama was speaking to the American Medical Association about reforming health care and controlling costs, he said, "we need to introduce generic biologic drugs into the marketplace." This is critical for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Four of the six main treatments for MS are these so-called "biologic" drugs. Biologic drugs are produced from living cells. No generic versions of these drugs are available only because the FDA doesn't have the authority to review the safety and efficacy of generic biologic drugs. And that benefits....? Congress has to pass legislation to allow cost-saving generics for these costly ($16,000-$30,000/year) drugs. Help the MS Society save money and improve access for people with multiple sclerosis. Ask Congress to act.
 
HEALTH CARE CAN'T WAIT RALLY - JUNE 25 WASHINGTON DC: HCAN is organizing a one-day rally in DC next week. Join advocates, small business owners and others. Find out more information and sign up for a free bus trip up and back. Folks will meet with Kay Hagan and other Congressional members. Busses leave from 115 Market St, Durham, 27701 (the ACORN Office) and 3824 Barrett Drive, Suite 312, Raleigh, 27609 (NC Fair Share Office) at 5am return at approx. 11:30 pm the same day. 
 
YOU CAN ACT NOW ON NATIONAL REFORM - CONTACT SENATOR KAY HAGAN: Does all the mess above have you steaming mad? If you haven't already, contact our very own US Senator Kay Hagan toll free (1-877-852-9462). Check out her website for more information.
 
Look at our more extensive alert, but the basic message is - 1. We need reform that includes a public plan option so we don't have to deal with NC Blue Cross if we don't want to. 2. Health plans - public or private - need to be affordable for working North Carolinians - especially in small businesses.
 
SMALL BUSINESS ROUNDTABLES ON HEALTH REFORM: HAC is holding two dinner roundtables where small business owners and workers are invited to talk about health reform. Bring your appetite for good food and good conversation about the challenges small businesses face in trying to purchase health insurance for themselves and their employees.
 
Contact Hope Marasco (hope@ncjustice.org) for more information and to register:
 
Thursday, July 9, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. in Pittsboro
RAFI-USA's Dan Pollitt Conference Center, 274 Pittsboro Elementary School Road
A free dinner will be provided by Angelina's Kitchen (local food with a Greek twist).
Please RSVP to hope@ncjustice.org by Monday, July 6.
 
We will also have a roundtable in Greensboro in July, location and time TBA. Coming soon to Asheville as well.
 
CHILDREN AND FAMILY LOBBY DAY JUNE 24 (Wednesday 11-3, NC General Assembly): Sponsored by the Covenant with North Carolina's Children, Action for Children NC, Council for Children's Rights, Child and Family Services Association-NC, NC Association of Educators, National Association of Social Workers-NC, and Prevent Child Abuse NC. Join us for a day of action at the General Assembly! As NC legislators consider devastating budget cuts, we must speak out for children and families. In addition to direct advocacy, we'll be holding a press conference at 1 pm to make our case to the press and the public. For more info: Rob Thompson, (919) 866-3280. info@nccovenant.org
 
 
HEALTH ACCESS COALITION MEETING - SAVE-THE-DATE: On Monday, September 21 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., the Health Access Coalition will hold a meeting at the new AARP-NC office on 1511 Sunday Drive, Ste. 312 in Raleigh. Remember, if you are unable to attend the meeting in person, we now have call-in capability. It's not too early to let us know if you are planning to attend in person or via telephone. RSVP to Nicole Dozier (nicole@ncjustice.org) if you are a HAC member or are interested in attending and joining HAC.
 
TROUBLE WITH A HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN? The NC Attorney General's Managed Care Patient Assistance Program has helped thousands of people having trouble with their health insurance companies. They get results and they are there to help all North Carolinians.
 
FREE OR LOW-COST HEALTH CARE RESOURCE: The NC Institute of Medicine maintains an excellent resource for information about how to get health care in NC if you don't have much money.
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