In July 2015, Dr. Andy Coates, past president of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) visited North Carolina. His goal? To help us understand the next steps in ensuring that health care is a right rather than a privilege.
More than 5 years after the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and six months since the last Supreme Court decision affirming the ACA, the question of how to proceed seems more pressing than ever. Here are just a few findings from the PNHP’s latest research (for complete list of findings, full text and citations for each finding, visit pnhp.org/research):
- Administrative costs consume 31 percent of US health spending compared to 16.7 percent in Canada. Single payer would save nearly $400 billion annually, enough to cover all of our uninsured.
- An estimated 45,000 Americans die each year for lack of health insurance. In NC, estimates are that 7 lives are lost every day due to lack of health insurance coverage.
- Public spending amounts to over 60 percent of US health care spending. This includes tax subsidies to private insurance and the costs of public employees’ benefits. We pay for national health insurance but we don’t get it.
If you stand with us in believing we can and must do better, you might wonder what your contribution is.
Here is what Health Care for All NC (HCfANC), your state chapter of PNHP, is doing. We welcome ideas to guide this work:
- HCfANC actively participates in the NC Medicaid Expansion Coalition. This group meets regularly to develop effective strategies to reverse the current legislative policy. This group works inside and outside the Beltway, coordinating press conferences, letters to the editor, and other public events. The Coalition’s strength derives from the variety and number of activists from non-profit organizations. The diverse groups include some focused on a particular disease, others with a demographic interest, and others with a policy agenda. HCfANC is the only participating group dedicated to making single payer a reality in NC.
Questions: Andy Coates suggested that Medicaid Expansion might be just “one step over a wide chasm” in the journey towards single payer. What do you think? Is Medicaid Expansion part of the problem or part of the solution? Can we know? Does it matter?
- Governor McCrory has said that he was waiting to reveal a plan for Medicaid expansion until the Supreme Court ruled and Medicaid Reform bill was passed in our state legislature. Now both are in the rear view mirror, and still no word from the Governor. The current reform bill sets up a mixed system of private managed care co-existing with physician-led accountable care organizations in 10 regions across the state. It appears to preserve a role for our nationally-ranked Community Care of NC (CCNC), at least in the short run. We have additional explanations on this webpage.
Questions: Does this reform legislation threaten the possibility for a single payer system in NC? What parts of it are most concerning to you? Or does it even make a difference to single payer advocates in our state?
- Health Care for All NC has been awarded a grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Foundation for a six month project with the North Carolina Council of Churches, beginning in January 2016. Our associate will visit faith congregations in as many counties as possible to educate them about Medicaid Expansion and to encourage their support for Expansion as a necessary and moral act. We additionally continue participating in Moral Monday / Forward Together activities such as the “Die In” held in Raleigh on October 28 to mourn the tragic loss of life that the General Assembly has allowed to continue.
Questions: Will you assist with this project by sending contact information for congregations in your area? Is there another way for HCfANC to strengthen the faith community’s voice for Medicaid Expansion and/or single payer?
Please let us know what you’re thinking. We’re at a crossroads, at a teachable time in this high energy political season.
What can we do to make a difference? What are you able and willing to do to help us?
Send your thoughts to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paragraphs above were edited & altered for web-presentation by HCfANC’s Gary Greenberg & Claudia Prose