NC HEALTH REPORT: Small Business Owner Speaks His Mind on Health Reform

June 3, 2009

Editors:  Adam Searing and Adam Linker
 
HEALTH ACCESS COALITION TV: 
 
Check out all our videos on HAC's  YouTube channel.
 
VIDEO:  Lou Meyers, a longtime small business owner from Durham NC, can tell you in four minutes what it's like to try and buy health insurance as a small business, why he can't stand the insurance companies, and why he's ready to throw the bums out and get a single-payer health plan.  See his interview with Adam Searing.
 
VIDEO:  Listening to the people affected by the NC budget cuts.
 
VIDEO:  See Congressman Bob Etheridge look pretty surprised by a question about including a public health insurance plan option in national health reform.
 
 
MORE AT THE PROGRESSIVE PULSE:
 
An appreciation of former NC Medicaid Director Barbara Matula.
 
Turns out Joe the Plumber hates taxes - but doesn't want to cut any from the 2/3rds of the budget devoted to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, etc.  A budding advocate for health care.
 
How cutting the NC Health Choice health insurance program will really hurt children.
 
We post the latest official list of health care budget cuts proposed by the NC House.
 
Why recent news coverage on the State Health Plan "crisis" misses the mark about the real issue.
 
The US Senate is working on health reform - and one committee is all about a public plan.
 
Our friend and health advocate Cindy Mann is going to lead Medicaid and SCHIP for Obama - good move!
 
The NC Medical Society isn't too sure what it really wants in health reform - they might want to be more clear.
 
Greg Flynn on a new independent report that smokers cost health plans about 5%-9%  extra a year and how BMI is a lousy predictor of health costs - putting some of the rhetoric around the State Health Plan "wellness" reforms in perspective.
 
Chris Fitzsimon on the new GAO report about long wait times for care at major medical institutions.  Hint - the GAO doesn't do reports about the health care system in Canada or in Europe.
 
 
LIKE OTHER STATES, NC NEEDS TO RAISE REVENUE TO PROTECT BASIC STATE SERVICES:  A  new report from the Justice Center's Budget & Tax Center confirms it. The vast majority of states facing budget gaps comparable to North Carolina's are raising revenues to protect their economies. In fact, not a single state with a budget gap the size of our state's is adopting a cuts-only approach. Even traditionally conservative states such as Georgia are adopting balanced strategies that include tax increases. Read the news release here.
 
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.
 
UPCOMING MEETINGS - THE HEALTH ACCESS COALITION AND PARTNERS AROUND NORTH CAROLINA:
 
SMALL BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE ON HEALTH REFORM:  The next HAC roundtable where small business owners and workers are invited to talk about health reform will be Thursday, June 25th from 6-8PM in Greensboro.  Location TBA,  Contact Hope Marasco (hope@ncjustice.org) for more information.
 
TOGETHER NC TOWN HALL DISCUSSIONS AND RALLY:  North Carolina's state government faces a large budget shortfall. It is critical that elected officials hear from folks in their communities about the importance of public programs and services so that they can make budget decisions that support communities and families, not undermine the state's economic recovery. The institutions North Carolina families rely on -- health care, education, unemployment insurance, housing assistance, child care, just to name a few -- are in jeopardy this year. We want to hear from local providers, advocates, families, teachers, students, etc.    Go to Together NC for more information or questions.www.togethernc.org
Please RSVP to hope@ncjustice.org  today:
Wed, June 3rd- Durham
Wed, June 3rd- Winston-Salem
Thurs, June 4th- Pittsboro
Thurs, June 4th- Rocky Mount
June 15th - RALLY FOR CHANGE AT NC GENERAL ASSEMBLY
 
MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION DAY:  The Mental Health Association in NC is hosting an Advocacy and Education Day at the Legislative Building in Court 1300 on Wednesday, June 10 from 9AM till 3PM.  Advocates for mental health services will be letting NC General Assembly members know what it means to cut mental health care so severely.  Click here for more information.
 
HEALTH CARE TOWN HALL MEETING: HCAN is sponsoring this on Saturday, June 6th 2009:  ILA (Longshoremen's Hall) 1305 S. 5th Ave., Wilmington, NC :  10:00am to 12:00pm
 
HEALTH ACCESS COALITION MEETING - SAVE-THE-DATE:  On Monday, September 21st from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM, 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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