The State of NC Healthcare

Recent NC health headlines

Posted in NC Healthpress by writemyline on 26 November 2008

Republican Sen. Richard Burr (N.C.) is in a position to have a significant influence on health reform… Read this article from The Hill.

Novant opposes CMC-NorthEast tower. Read about this at the Charlotte Business Journal.

The N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state law that determines the awarding of health-care facilities and equipment. Winston-Salem Journal

CIGNA HealthCare has been recognized as the top-ranked health plan in North Carolina for the second year. Read at Market Watch.

Dominion Healthcare in Durham has agreed to reimburse the NC Deptartment of Health and Human Services more than $1.6 million. Read the article in Winston-Salem Journal.

Rex Healthcare has been named in Top 200 Hospitals in Coding Study. Read on Carolina Newswire

VA Hospital in Salisbury may end surgical and ER services. Read the full article.

UNC selected by U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for important cancer treatment study. Read here.

VOCA Corporation and Residential Healthcare Affiliates of North Carolina MR  bids for an intermediate care facility for the mentally retarded in Guilford County. Read at News-Record.

Carolinas Healthcare System holds hearing in Kannapolis. Read in the Salisbury Post.  Also read the follow-up article, “Proposed diagnostic imaging center draws ire of physicians, citizens.”

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Healthcare Professionals on Healthcare Reform

Posted in NC Healthpress, The Vote 2008 by writemyline on 19 October 2008
The Public Knows the Candidates’ Views on Healthcare Reform, But Do the Candidates Know What Healthcare Professionals Think?
“ASHEVILLE, N.C., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ — Senator McCain believes it to be a responsibility; Senator Obama, a right. While both candidates believe that healthcare reform is a high priority, they disagree on the methods necessary to fix this problem. But do they know which plan physicians support? A new study from DoctorDirectory of more than 900 physicians of all specialties was designed to assess attitudes on universal healthcare as it relates to the upcoming election.” [Read more]

Who can fix this?

Posted in Reform-in-progress, The Vote 2008 by writemyline on 11 October 2008

The headline reads: Health insurance coverage dwindling.Those in Carolinas are losing employer-based insurance at faster rate than in most other states. (By Karen Garloch); and it’s a headline that is likely to make a significant impact on the upcoming elections.

Karen Garloch’s article in the Charlotte Observer is one that needs to be plastered on billboards all across NC. It states a truth that a little less than half of NCers already knows first-hand. NC’s insured population has fallen from 69% in 2000 to 59% in 2007. In case those percentages appear benign, consider this:

In 2000: (8,049,313)   =  5,554,025 insured/2,495,288 uninsured

In 2007: (9,061,032)   =  5,346,008 insured/ 3,715,024 uninsured

NC Population growth from 2000 to 2007: 1,011,719

Increase in NC’s uninsured from 2000 to 2007: 1,219, 736

Essentially, every citizen born in NC over the last seven years, and then some, is uninsured.

But who can fix this?

Watching the Presidential Debate this past week did not bring immediate relief to concerns. Going back to Jonathan Oberlander’s assessment of Obama and McCain’s healthcare plans, both candidates acknowledge the critical need for immediate reform, but via juxtaposing properties that “reflect fundamentally different assumptions about the virtues and vices of markets and government.”

As far as NC is concerned, the jury is still out about which candidate has the plan that can turn around the trend of dwindling healthcare insurance. Obama’s plan seems to largely depend on employer-paid coverage while McCain’s plan shifts the bill to consumers but with a bonus tax credit. Both candidates also acknowledge the problem of high-risk coverage and pre-existing conditions which, in NC, have a significant impact on affordability. Obama’s plan appears more complicated all around and would take quite a bit of time to accomplish. His plan heavily relies on employer-mandated insurance benefits which causes one to speculate how that would work under the current economic crisis and high unemployment rates. Also, how likely would employer-mandated health benefits boost the job market for North Carolinians  who are able to work but currently unemployed? 

McCain could probably achieve his plan in less time, but there are some down sides to his proposal, like deregulation of the insurance markets in relation to NC’s current unemployment stats–if you don’t have a job, you probably can’t afford any kind of premium and getting a job might be a very long-term process. Obama’s national health plan (similar to Medicare) would be of more benefit to these folks. And if you already get health insurance through an employer, you’ll start paying tax on that benefit.

NC’s new health insurance risk-pool is scheduled to begin enrollment on January 1, 2009. Just under 200,000 Carolinians ( 178,000 (under 65)) will get a break in BCBSNC’s very expensive high-risk rates, but will it be a break big enough to make a significant difference in the number of NC’s uninsured? Individual high-risk rates could still be over $800/month; and for many, that just isn’t enough to make it affordable. For an unemployed high-risk person, there is no affordable coverage even with the risk pool.

What percentage of NC’s uninsured miss out on health coverage because of unemployment or lack of employee benefits? Probably close to all those under age 65 in one way or another. So what’s to fix first–healthcare or the economy? Obama says he’ll prioritize those issues and work sequentially; McCain believes it is possible to work on both healthcare and the economy simultaneously.

Which candidate has the plan best for NC–a plan that brings immediate (or as immediate as possible) relief to both the unemployed and high-risk or uninsurable populations?  Who–McCain or Obama–is more likely to take positive and aggressive action that, at a minimum, slows the decline in NC’s insured?

Ideally, Karen Garloch’s next article about NC and health insurance will boast a different headline: Health insurance coverage increasing.Those in Carolinas are gaining employer-based insurance at faster rate than in most other states.

NORTH CAROLINA INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE 2006 TASK FORCE ON COVERING THE UNINSURED UPDATES TO RECOMMENDATIONS (2008)
North Carolina Health Insurance Risk Pool Feasibility Study

The Healthcare Vote: Representative Verla Insko

Posted in The Vote 2008 by writemyline on 9 October 2008

Representative Verla Insko
(D, Orange)

See Representative Insko’s legislative accomplishments in the NC General Assembly.

Verla Clemens Insko (b. February 5, 1936) is a Democratic member of the North Carolina General Assembly representing the state’s fifty-sixth House district, including constituents in Orange county. A retired health program administrator from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Insko is currently (2007-2008 session) serving in her sixth term in the state House. She sits on several committees and is chairwoman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services and the Mental Health Reform committee. She has been noted for her progressive policy positions, such as her support for publicly funded universal health care, and stated in a candidate questionnaire, “I believe in an activist government that provides for the common good and protects the vulnerable”.

The Healthcare Vote: Senator William Purcell

Posted in The Vote 2008 by writemyline on 9 October 2008

Senator William Purcell
(D, District 25)

See Senator Purcell’s legislative accomplishments in the NC General Assembly.

Read the NC Justice Center’s profile for Senator Purcell.

Read Modern Medicine’s Profile: Bill Purcell, pediatrician turned politician

Senator Purcell on UNC-TV.

Recognitions:

Defenders of Justice Award, Legislative Advocacy 2006, NC Justice Center

Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service 2007

AARP Outstanding Legislator 2007

2007 Ronald H. Levine Legacy Award

2008 NC Prevention Awards Winners, Legislator Excellence

2006 “Baby Bootie” Legislative Award

2008 Hemophilia of North Carolina Legislator of the Year Award

Recipient of the Ewald W. Busse Award

Distinguished Service Award from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Will Breazeale (R-District 7-NC): FAIR HEALTH PLAN

Posted in NC Healthpress, Political Health by writemyline on 7 October 2008

Will Breazeale

Republican Nominee, District 7-NC, U.S. House

FAIR HEALTH PLAN-PRESS RELEASE

 

 

 

11 SEP 2008

 

1. This plan agrees with Sen. John McCain’s plan on many fronts: portability, guaranteed access, affordability, tort reform and transparency. Will Breazeale has worked hard with research and interviews conducted all over District 7. Interviews were conducted with hospital CFOs, physicians, patients, the poorest of Americans, the middle class and business owners. This plan has chosen a different and unique way to fund and fix our health care problems.

2. This plan also acknowledges our government’s need to eliminate the $75 Trillion budget deficit ($9 Trillion direct and $66 Trillion of unfunded promises).

 

PLAN:

 

16% GNP to 9% GNP for Health Care NOW!

$2 Trillion is spent every year on our health care. (16% of our Gross Domestic Product). With cost savings listed below, we can finally reduce this cost to 9% of GDP!

 

HOW???

 

-Health Care Insurance Company Competition

The government can create competition among private health care companies by dividing the country into 10 regions for a bidding war to cover the uninsured and underinsured with huge contracts awarded to a private companies. Competition ALWAYS lowers costs!

 

-Privately Administered, Government Awarded Contracts

The government awards the contracts by regions to the low bidder, but the Private Insurance Company like Aetna, Blue Cross, etc., will ADMINISTER the program. The government will never run an efficient health care system like a private company can. This lowers costs!

 

-Lawsuit Reform

The government will mandate that EVERY state will form an independent commission to review medical lawsuits before they go to trial. ANY lawsuit that is classified as frivolous and loses in court, will force the losing side to pay ALL lawyer and court costs for both sides. Frivolous lawsuits will go away overnight. This lowers costs!

 

-No More Emergency Room Abuse

-Anyone using the Fair Health plan will have to pay a $500 deductible for non-emergency use of any emergency room before being seen. This will end emergency room abuse which will lower costs and keep more emergency rooms open. This lowers costs!

 

-Rewards for Wellness

Anyone meeting the Presidential Council for Physical fitness goals for their age and gender will be charged 9% less for their health insurance costs. This rewards wellness and reduces costs to the patient and insurance company!

 

-No More Free Care for Illegal Immigrants

-The health care bill for illegal immigrants is estimated to be 15% of our total health care costs. The Fair Health plan will finally collect premiums from illegal immigrants for their health care while calling for a direct deduction for all costs from their country of origin’s foreign aid. This lowers costs!

 

-Level Playing Field for Businesses

-The Fair Health plan will take health care concerns off the table for businesses who cannot afford health insurance for their employees. This will allow recruitment of talented people for all businesses and make it easier to start a small business with less capital investment. Our citizens have to be healthy to get a job. Covering all 47 Million uninsured Americans will create a healthier workforce for business.

 

-Complete Portability

The Fair Health plan AUTOMATICALLY insures someone the day they lose their job. No more expensive COBRA. The Fair Health plan also insures ALL pre-existing conditions as well as covering dental and vision needs.

 

-Choice

Want to purchase health insurance on your own, use your company health care or use your Health Savings Account? Fine! You can opt out of the Fair Health plan at any time!

 

-National Health Care Sales Tax for Uninsured-9% vs. 8%

Paying for it!!! EVERY person living in the United States will be charged an additional 9% on everything new item or service they buy for the Fair Health plan UNLESS they prove with a biometric card or a fingerprint reader linked to a database that they have their own health insurance.

 

-Elimination of Medicaid saving $Billions!

Fair Health makes it possible to eliminate Medicaid as we know it saving our government billions of dollars. Employers or states can help lower income people pay some of the 9 or 8% Fair Health tax with a system of prebates.

 

3. This is a REAL and creative plan. McIntyre’s plan is too general and lacks vision. Questions and comments are always welcome and considered! Call 910-409-7023 or email will@awilltowin.com.

 

 

Will Breazeale

Republican Nominee, District 7-NC, U.S. House

Sunday Morning Paper…NC Healthcare

Posted in NC Healthpress by writemyline on 27 September 2008

Sunday morning paper…NC healthcare

Posted in NC Healthpress by writemyline on 21 September 2008
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Sunday morning paper…NC Healthcare

Posted in NC Healthpress by writemyline on 14 September 2008

Report urges effort for health care for all in N.C   “More than 1.5 million people in North Carolina don’t have health insurance, and state residents are losing coverage at almost twice the national rate, according to the Health Access Coalition of the N.C. Justice Center.”

Nonprofit proposes health plan  “The plan, released Monday by the nonprofit N.C. Justice Center, would require money from the federal and state governments, employers, hospitals, insurers and families.”

DHHS will lose $800K monthly after hospital loses certification  “The Department of Health and Human Services will lose approximately $800,000 from its budget per month in Medicaid and Medicare receipts that are usually generated by patients at a Goldsboro mental health hospital that lost its provider status earlier this month.”

$475K grant to combat childhood obesity “The Appalachian District Health Department has landed a $475,000 state grant to help reduce childhood obesity in the region.”

More than $200,000 Raised for Access to Health Care Fund

Carolinas HealthCare loses $112M for first half of ’08 Carolinas HealthCare System reports a loss of more than an $111.8 million for the first half of the year, citing the sagging performance of the financial markets. ”

Hospital Authority Buys Land for $4.5 Million “The land was purchased (by Carolinas HealthCare System)for use as a future hospital development in Lincoln County.”

Dilworth Neighbors Concerned By CMC Property Purchases

Baptist “Extremely Disappointed” In Novant’s Decision “Davie County Hospital/Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is extremely disappointed with the decision by Novant to appeal the State’s approval of the application to build a replacement hospital for Davie County Hospital.”

Wake Forest med students opening a free midweek clinic

Cameron Women’s and Children’s Hospital opens its doors to patients

Dialysis center proposed for Carthage

Rex Healthcare Named One of Nation’s 100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare

Together for Kids, Member Hospitals Launch National Fundraising Campaign, Walk Across America

N.C. hospital program reduces errors, improves patient care

Hospice Of Wake Seeks CON For Dunn Facility

Duke Endowment Gives $50 Million For Medical Education Facility, Pediatric Care: Largest Gift Ever To Duke University Medical Center

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Sunday morning paper…

Posted in NC Healthpress by writemyline on 7 September 2008
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