NC HEALTH REPORT: Interview with Dr. Bill Atkinson, CEO WakeMed

June 17, 2010
Editors: Adam Searing and Adam Linker

VIDEO: Adam Searing sits down for a talk with Dr. Bill Atkinson, CEO of WakeMed Health & Hospitals and discusses health care reform, containing health costs, and other topics.

VIDEO: Pediatrician Dr. Kathleen Clarke-Pearson tells the NC General Assembly (now debating the NC state budget):  Don't cut health care for kids!


General Assembly Insurance Committee declines to vote on bill to move the state health plan to more independent oversight.

Senator Kay Hagan votes for state fiscal relief so NC doesn't have to fire teachers and turn away kids who need health insurance. Senator Burr, of course, votes no.

The Smokerlyzer apparently isn't dead - it's just moving to Winston-Salem of all places.

Why the flap over the Rep. Bob Etheridge v. the blurry face guy who won't identify himself is a distraction from the real issues facing North Carolinians.

Almost official - children of state employees can remain on the State Health Plan up to age 26, even if not in college.

New report on health reform progress in Massachusetts has lessons and hope for the rest of the country.

Why Congress should extend the COBRA health insurance subsidy to help hardworking NC families. Rep. Mike McIntyre - Budget "hawk", but only when it's convenient!

FEDERAL ASSISTANCE FOR STATES (FMAP, COBRA)? Maybe not. The Senate couldn't even get the votes yesterday for the bill that would help NC with $500 million in extra Medicaid money. Since budget writers in NC, like 30 other states, are counting on this money, this is a real problem. For example, substantial cuts to the UNC system - including a cap in enrollment that caused huge controversy - were avoided last week when budget writers found $85 million more for the system. Budget writers are also routinely making decisions like the House's to underfund programs like children's health insurance, so that new kids who need coverage will shortly be turned away.  Not even considered in the vote yesterday was extra assistance for COBRA insurance - health insurance people who have been laid off from their jobs are purchasing from their former employers.

HEALTH CHOICE FUNDING AT RISK: Late yesterday, reports from the General Assembly regarding children's health insurance were grim. Further reductions in funding for NC's affordable children's health insurance program, Health Choice, were possible and the reductions are so severe that the program might have to stop accepting kids immediately.

SENATOR HAGAN HOLDS OFFICE HOURS TOMORROW (FRIDAY) IN CHAPEL HILL: Senator Hagan will meet with constituents on a first come, first served basis from 3:00pm-4:00pm. Representatives from Senator Hagan's office will be on site from 2:30pm-4:30pm to assist constituents who need assistance with federal agencies.


Friday, June 18, 2010 2:30pm-4:30pm

Robert and Pearl Seymour Center

2551 Homestead Rd (Southern Human Services Campus)

Chapel Hill, NC 27516

HAC TRAVELING STATE - SPEAKING ABOUT IMPLEMENTING HEALTH REFORM: HAC has been all over NC over the last few weeks speaking to different groups about what's ahead with the new reform bill - and what changes NC needs to make now to protect the public from rising insurance rates before the full reform protections kick in. We have spoken to groups in Charlotte, Greensboro, Boone, Asheville, Raleigh, Sanford and elsewhere. We are happy to come speak with your group as well. Just email HAC Outreach Director Hope Marasco at or call 919-863-2405.

SMALL BUSINESS OR NONPROFIT QUALIFY FOR HEALTH INS TAX CREDIT? WE WANT TO INTERVIEW YOU! Does it look like your small business or nonprofit will qualify for the new Health Insurance Tax credit? See the IRS guidelines on the credit. If so, we may want to interview you for our video project. If interested, just email Adam Searing ( or Adam Linker (


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