NC HEALTH REPORT: State Employees Cheaper to Insure; Small Business Roundtables

June 11, 2009
Editors: Adam Searing and Adam Linker

 
HEALTH ACCESS COALITION TV: Check out all our videos on HAC's YouTube channel.
 
MORE AT THE PROGRESSIVE PULSE:
  • NC Blue Cross finally unveils its website attacking Obama's health care reform plans -- and it is as subtle and misleading as ever.
  • Two ways to protect patients -- especially with mental illness -- when we finally implement a preferred drug list. This would save money and reduce use of ineffective treatment.
  • The hundreds of millions of unspecified budget cuts to health care not being talked about at the General Assembly.
  • Andrea Verykoukis on the fact that now 60% of personal bankruptcies are due to medical costs and the view from North Carolina.
NC STATE EMPLOYEES ACTUALLY CHEAPER TO INSURE: I know, I know, this flies in the face of months of sober prognostications from State Health Plan officials and the solons at the NC General Assembly, but do the math for yourself. A look at the most respected national data on employer health benefits from the Kaiser Family Foundation when compared to the actual annual cost reported by the State Health Plan to insure a single employee finds that NC pays over $400 less annually than private employers do to insure an employee. Guess maybe we should be thinking about ways to reduce some of the huge recent increases in cost sharing just enacted in the health plan instead of bashing employees for being "sicker and older" than average.
 
HOW TO SAVE MILLIONS FOR NC TAXPAYERS WITH A PREFERRED DRUG LIST: The Raleigh News & Observer and the Charlotte Observer detailed the long fight to try and institute a preferred drug list in North Carolina to save money and improve health care. And no, I don't think it's just a good story because it has my picture in a seersucker suit attached to it, although that's enough for my mom. The details of how one special interest in health care manages to secure benefits for itself again and again offer a sobering review of how hard health reform will be.
 
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, June 25, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. in Greensboro. Location TBA
 
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.
 
SMALL BUSINESSES WOULD SAVE UNDER HEALTH CARE REFORMS NOW UNDER DISCUSSION: Small business owners overwhelmingly support smart, comprehensive health care reform that reduces costs. Today, the small business organization Small Business Majority is releasing a long-awaited report on three different reform options. The study, "The Economic Impact of Healthcare Reform on Small Business," includes economic analysis by Jonathan Gruber of M.I.T. that compares the impact of three different reform models on small business healthcare costs, jobs, wages and profits with that of no reform.
 
TOGETHER NC TOWN HALL RALLY AT GENERAL ASSEMBLY JUNE 15: 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. Go to Together NC for more information or questions.
 
HEALTH CARE TOWN HALL WITH CONGRESSMAN DAVID PRICE: Health Care for America Now will be hosting a town hall meeting with Congressman David Price on June 13 at 10 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 305 E. Main Street, Durham. Light breakfast will be served beginning at 9:30 a.m.
 
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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