NC HEALTH REPORT: A Million Reasons to Support the Senate Health Bill

December 16, 2009
Editors: Adam Searing and Adam Linker

HEALTH ACCESS COALITION TV: Our Channel

VIDEO: Why is NC Senator Richard Burr bashing Medicaid as a program without medical homes, chronic care management and responsible cost control? He surely must know that in his own state, NC Medicaid is a national model for just those sorts of reforms. Adam Searing enlists elite prosecutor Jack McCoy to tackle this puzzling case.

VIDEO: Small business owner Ashley Ascott on the need for health reform.

VIDEO: Faces of ordinary North Carolinians for health reform - from BlueNC.

VIDEO: John Tote on budget cuts hitting mental health services and the "human tsunami."

AT THE PROGRESSIVE PULSE:

Why support the Senate health bill? One take - it makes care hugely more affordable for millions of families.

CT scans much more dangerous than previously thought - radiation doses high and variable, overuse should be addressed.

Economic activity and health care spending.

Farming and how to contain health costs - Atul Gwande.

Kay Hagan - Medicare buy-in advocate.

Health reform - the moral imperative.

Mentally disabled clients win a round with help from Disability Rights North Carolina.

Insurers tricking Facebook users into opposing health reform.

Adam Linker on the latest problems with the State Health Plan changes.

Chris Fitzsimon on some of the more ridiculous arguments against health reform.

Why the Senate health bill improves care and reduces costs.

A postcard for Congressman Larry Kissell.

Is Senator Richard Burr really a friend for people with low incomes on Medicare? You decide.

Health reform compromise - Insurance company style.

The Blue Cross campaign to kill health reform at the state level.

Alex O'Connor on the Senate health care debate.

Helping big tobacco hook young smokers.

Insurance company puppet Senator Richard Burr.

State employees will pay for using any tobacco product.

Bill Atkinson of WakeMed has some really interesting things to say on payment reform.

Congresswoman Sue Myrick and her misleading video on routine mammography screening.

The State Health Plan mess just gets messier.

FAMILIESUSA REPORT:  Senate health bill means coverage for 988,000 in NC

National consumer group FamiliesUSA issued a new report today detailing the effect of the Senate health bill on increasing coverage in North Carolina. Nearly one million North Carolinians would gain coverage under the bill. If we don't do anything? 254,000 of us lose coverage by 2019.

MY TAKE ON THE SENATE HEALTH BILL WITH A WATERED-DOWN OR NO PUBLIC OPTION AND NO MEDICARE BUY-IN: Look, it isn't pretty. When you've got one insurance company in North Carolina with 96.8% of the market (Blue Cross), you've got to be crazy not to want some competition. "Give me a choice" was something I heard all over the state this summer from individuals and small businesses who are dealing with skyrocketing costs and want real reform. However, I've also been fighting for health coverage for all North Carolinians for over a decade now. I've had my fill of stories from people who can't afford coverage because they had cancer. Or mothers who are about to go bankrupt because of a huge hospital bill. Or people who've worked hard but got sick and lost not only their job but their health insurance. Or friends in small businesses who want to provide coverage for their employees but can't even afford it for themselves.

The Senate bill without these key provisions isn't perfect, but the fact remains that nearly a million North Carolinians will finally be able to afford coverage, we will establish a safety net for the very poorest people for the first time, and we will take the critical first steps to containing out-of-control health costs. Insurance companies will no longer be able to quadruple premiums because of pre-existing health conditions or age.

These are major, major changes and they are worth fighting for, Joe Lieberman and his machinations notwithstanding.

Adam Searing

SENATOR KAY HAGAN'S GOOD WORK ON HEALTH: Senator Hagan has generally followed her record in the NC General Assembly as she completes her first year in the US Senate. She's a solid business-friendly Democrat who is willing to consider issues like health reform but from a fiscally conservative perspective. That being said, her support for critical elements of health reform is especially significant. She certainly hasn't been a pushover for progressives in her party by any stretch on this issue, having expressed concerns about a public health insurance option, affordability standards, and the cost of Medicaid.

Over the last few weeks though, it has become clear on the basic principles of health reform, Senator Hagan is leading with the focus squarely on what's best for her constituents - both those worried about skyrocketing health costs and those without coverage. She's made clear her support for concepts like a public plan or a Medicare buy-in (notwithstanding Sen. Lieberman's apparently successful torpedoing of these ideas.) She also has been a strong fighter for affordability of health plans and been clear that what is affordable for average North Carolinians is a critical part of what she needs to have in any bill. She also supports the moves toward controlling costs in health care laid out in the Senate plan and has spoken clearly about that need as well.

NEXT HAC MEETING WILL BE FRIDAY, JANUARY 15 IN WILMINGTON: We are excited to come down and have a meeting with all our great partners. Meeting starts at 6pm, more details to follow. For more information now contact Nicole at nicole@ncjustice.org.

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