MEDIA RELEASE: New paper busts myths about health care reform

RALEIGH (Aug. 6, 2009) -- Health reform is one of the most crucial issues facing Americans, with the promise of improving hundreds of millions of lives. Unfortunately, industry-funded groups with no expertise or experience in health care policy have begun to drive the debate -- using myths that are objectively false.

A new report from the NC Justice Center's Health Access Coalition, a non-profit advocacy group with years of experience promoting health case solutions, has released a paper debunking several of these false statements.

"The public debate has been dominated by inaccurate, industry-backed misinformation designed to stop Americans from receiving higher-quality, lower-cost health care," said Adam Linker, a policy analyst with the Health Access Coalition who authored the paper. "These untrue statements are both misleading and dangerous, and we believe the facts tell a far different story."

Among the myths tackled by Linker's paper:

* Health reform legislation is a "government takeover": Industry
groups and insurance companies are opposing consumer choice by
labeling the public health insurance option as "socialized medicine."
But since Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina controls 96.8
percent of the individual market, according to the North Carolina
Department of Insurance, a public option will give consumers an
additional choice for coverage.

* Health reform will kill your grandmother: Industry groups want to
keep consumers confused about how to fill out living wills or
assigning power of attorney. Currently, if a patient wants to ask
their doctor about these options, the doctor does not get paid for the
interaction. Reform proposals in Congress would reimburse the doctor
if a patient wants to talk about these complicated legal documents.

* We should leave health care to the free market: Insurance companies
drop coverage for people when they get sick. Insurance companies deny
coverage to people with pre-existing conditions or charge them
outrageous monthly premiums. Insurers refuse to pay for needed medical
care. After health reform we will still have a free market while
providing some basic consumer protections. Insurance companies will no
longer be able to turn people away or charge women more than men for
coverage. Industry groups use "free market" as a code word for
protecting profits.

The paper is available online at 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Adam Linker, 252.375.6520.