NC Health Report: Health care special interests; Rallying around NC

Editors:  Adam Searing and Adam Linker
* Check out all our videos on HAC's  YouTube channel.
* Meetings and rally on health care reform happening all over NC - see below.
Video:  See how a powerful special interest gets its way in the North Carolina Senate -- a case study of the State Health Plan bill.  Responding to health care interests, the Senate voted to make employees pay more in premiums and taxpayers come up with more funding while all these savings go to the pharmacy industry.  See which Senators voted for the bill here.
Video:  See State Health Plan CEO Jack Walker talk about his plans for random blood and breathalyzer-type tests to try catch those state employees who smoke so they can be penalized with thousands of dollars in extra cost-sharing.  Why not try some positive stop-smoking, get healthy incentives and maybe a $25 surcharge on premiums like other states have done?
Obama's health care forum in Greensboro yesterday - HAC was there.
Is there another bill to fix the State Health Plan in the works?  Indications from last week's NC House hearing.
The NC Institute of Medicine releases its newest report on how to expand health coverage in North Carolina.  Will the General Assembly listen? 
Greg Flynn on the other hole in State Health Plan CEO Jack Walker's unraveling resume.
Adam Linker is agog over State Health Plan debate.
Why did NC use open bidding for the state's $8,000 cauliflower contract but not the State Health Plan's $100 million contract with NC Blue Cross?
Is the NC State Health Plan really planning to start cherry-picking who it insures by charging older people more $$ - just like Blue Cross? 
HAC's report released this week on how to save money and improve health care in North Carolina is getting attention.  Another reason why we need newspapers - this sort of story is really tough to get on TV.  The News and Observer wrote an editorial today following up on a great story by Wade Rawlins on Tuesday.  Hey - why not save money for the state health plan (and the rest of us paying health premiums) by implementing reforms suggested in the report?
RALEIGH HEALTH CARE RALLY:    On Sunday, April 19, from 2-4 p.m., the North Carolina organization Life o' Mike is holding a rally for Health Care for All on the grounds of the NC State Capitol Building.  The rally is dedicated to Mike Danforth, who died April 1, 2008, because he didn't have health insurance, which would have given him access to the diagnostic tests that could have saved his life.  Life o' Mike was formed in May 2008 to remember Mike Danforth and 30,000 people who die each year because they lack access to health care.  The purpose of the rally is to tell the stories of Danforth and others who can't get health care, and to support a fix to the country's broken health care system.
CONTACT: Leslie Boyd at  or 828-243-6712.
Health care forum:  Affordable health care for all North Carolinians
Thursday, April 2nd, 5.00PM - 6.30PM
Appalachian State University Campus
Plemmons Student Union - Macrae Peak Room
Boone, NC
Sponsored by:  Student Association of Social Work (SASW); Appalachian & the Community Together (ACT);  Institute for Health and Human Services
HAC is also organizing a small business roundtable discussion about health reform and what small business concerns are moving forward.
For more information about these two events (including how to reach sponsors) contact HAC Outreach Coordinator Hope Marasco ( 919-863-2405)
Child Health Coverage:  Parent Forum
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Alexander Family YMCA, 1603 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC
At this meeting with parents, we will discuss eligibility for the state's affordable health plans and what we can do together to make North Carolina a state where every parent can afford a health plan for his or her child. 
This meeting will be led by Nicole Dozier, Health Access Coalition Assistant Project Director.  For more information, contact Nicole (  919-856-2146)
HEALTH CARE FOR AMERICA NOW (HCAN) PUBLIC FORUMS:   This state/national partnership will be sponsoring a public forum on health care reform in Charlotte on April 9 on the campus of UNC Charlotte, and another in Raleigh on April 16 on the campus of North Carolina State. The Charlotte event is being co-sponsored  by the UNC Charlotte Department of Public Health Sciences, the Graduate Public Health Association, and the (undergraduate) Public Health Association as part of National Public Health Week.  These events will focus on the need for health care reform from the perspective of advocates, providers, academics, activists, and the community.  DIRECTIONS:
April 9, 2009
College of Health and Human Services
Room 155
UNC Charlotte Campus
April 16, 2009
3712 Bostian Hall
North Carolina State University Campus
Research & Publications: