Letter: Asheville forums address health care reform

Graphic by Lori Deaton

While “wellness” is rightly celebrated in Asheville in [the March 27] Mountain Xpress, wellness in Western North Carolina and beyond is again threatened by a renewed push by the Trump administration to eliminate the Affordable Care Act. If Obamacare is struck down, an estimated 20 million more Americans would go without health insurance, popular provisions like protections for people with pre-existing conditions would be gone, and a huge portion of the U.S. health care system would be faced with a chaotic scramble to adapt.

In addition, given the recent sale of Mission Health to HCA Healthcare, many regional residents are rightly concerned about how a huge private corporation will affect health care in WNC. One local health advocacy organization, HealthCare for All WNC, has responded to citizen anxieties by arranging for a national critic of for-profit medical corporations to speak in Asheville.

On Wednesday, April 10, Wendell Potter, former vice president of communications for health insurance giant Cigna, will speak on Transforming Healthcare in America at two public forums in Asheville. These free events will occur at 2-3:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 1 Edwin Place, Asheville, and 7-8:30 p.m. at Lenoir-Rhyne University Conference Room, 36 Montford Ave. (Chamber of Commerce building), Asheville.

Potter is currently the president of Business Initiative for Health Policy. His best-selling book, Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans, discloses how insurance companies maximize profits by restricting care and use deceptive tactics to undermine health care reform.

We who want universal affordable health care must learn more about the possibilities for “health care for all” as an option to the failing for-profit system in our country. New legislation is being brought forward in the North Carolina legislature and U.S. Congress to expand Medicaid and to fund “Improved Medicare for All,” respectively.

— Frank L. Fox
Asheville

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One thought on “Letter: Asheville forums address health care reform

  1. C-Law

    The Democrats know good and damn well that the entire Federal Medical System — including Medicare and Medicaid — blows up by 2024.

    Oh, and Trump and the Republicans won’t try to do anything either before the election. They also know.

    These are not my numbers (2024) by the way. They’re The Federal Government’s numbers. They know good and damn well that the economics behind what we’re doing now are on a collision course with reality, that it would take a 500% tax increase in the Medicare Tax Rate to pull the nose up on this aircraft and without it we’re all going to hit the ground at 500kts and there will be nothing larger then a dime in size left of our economy and government.

    Yet neither the left or right will take it on because both are beholden to both the campaign money and the bubble in both stocks and the economy generally that it has produced. Lose that and both the market and economy crash.

    Said crash would be nasty but short, sharp and then over, much like 1920/21. Some three million people who currently push paper and “code” procedures would instantly lose their jobs, and these are not $10/hour jobs either. The impact in our urban areas in terms of property valuations, never mind the health care companies on the public markets, would be severe.

    But the cost of everything — your cost of living, the cost of running a business — would go down by ~16-17% or so overnight. Pension costs for state and local governments would be cut by far more; in some cases by half. Most of them that are currently facing insolvency would not be.

    The business environment and cost structure improvements would produce a giant sucking sound out of Europe, the third world and Mexico back to the United States. The entrepreneurship that would be unleashed would be literally unprecedented in the history of the nation. It would take only months for enough jobs to be created in other fields to employ most of those who got fired from their health scam positions.

    But it’s not going to happen folks.

    It won’t happen because you won’t demand the train be stopped despite the evidence before everyone in the nation that we’re headed for a bridge that has no supports under it and when the train gets to it it’s going to go into a thousand-foot high gorge and kill a huge percentage of us — specifically but not only those who are dependent on any sort of subsidized anything in the medical field.

    May I remind you that in the US almost half of all persons take at least one prescription drug and nearly 12% are taking five or more?

    That’s insane and if you’re among them you better think long and hard about what your quality of life looks like if your access to those gets cut off, or whether you’ll survive at all. Never mind if your current medical status requires close and ongoing medical monitoring of some sort (e.g. monthly doctor visits, lab work, etc.)

    In just six years from now — and perhaps sooner — you’re going to find out.

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