Making Democracy Work

Health Roundtable

The health roundtable was reinstituted March 13th 2018. Please come to the next meeting and add your thoughts to help us advocate for improving our healthcare. system. We are planning monthly meetings and additional working subgroup meetings.

Roundtable Events

Next roundtable meeting: Monday, July 8th at noon at Deep Roots. Please bring your lunch. We will make plans for further educational activities. Please see the added articles which Paul Starr wrote in 2018 about ways to expand Medicare that are politically feasible.

Contact Us

Contact us by email

Chair Person

Laurey Solomon

Roundtable Goals

Proposed goals:

In keeping with the League of Women Voters of the United States health care goal to 'promote a health care system for the United States that provides access to a basic level of quality care for all U.S. residents, including behavioral health, and controls health care costs' the League of Women Voters of the Piedmont Triad Health Roundtable will focus on two goals. Our goals for 2018-2019 are for specific advocacy and education.

We resolve:

1) To educate the public regarding the extent to which our health care system is underserving particularly the poor and financially stressing the entire society.

2) To seek to encourage legislators to move first toward "Medicaid expansion" and then eventually toward a program of "Medicare for all."

The 2016 - 17 public policy statement of the League of Women Voters of the Triad under social policy, health care was, "Promote a healthy community that recognizes the importance of social, geographic, political influences. Promote a health care system for the Piedmont Triad that provides access to affordable, quality care for all residents, including prevention of disease, primary care (including prenatal and reproductive health), acute care, long-term care, and mental health care (including substance abuse treatment). Promote control of health care costs, equitable distribution of services, efficient and economical delivery of care, advancement of medical research and technology, and a reasonable total expenditure level for health."

Health Events

Candlelight vigils for Medicaid Expansion will be held June 5 at 7 pm at two locations in the Triad. One in the Plaza in front of the Melvin Municipal Bldg in Greensboro and one at Winston Square Park in WS.

On April, 8th Wendell Potter spoke at the Lane's residence on the need for Medicare for All from the perspective of a former health insurance company executive in charge of spinning their increasingly onerous contracts so that the public would not protest too much.

On March 26, 2019 at 7:30 PM in Greensboro, Jonathan Oberlander, PhD. professor at the University of North Carolina presented "Unfinished Journey: The Future of Health Care Reform" at Union Square Campus.

The March 19, 2019 Lunch with the League related to universal health care coverage.

October 21, 2018 we had a booth at the Greensboro PRIDE festival and handed out over 200 of the League's voter's guides along with our bookmarks related to improving access to healthcare.

Meeting Notes

Notes Health RT 04/01/2019

Present: Barbara Carter, Ann Shaw, Laurey Solomon, Anna Fesmire, Marilyn Evans, Rob Luisana, Tim Lane

Discussion of Dr O program: Excellent speaker, very good venue but it cost $1000 and some concern that people don't know much about it or where it is so we question if we got value for money for this particular event, and advertising that reaches large numbers is prohibitively expensive so we feel we did the best we could with our limited resources but regret not being able to reach a wider audience.

Our expenses were approx. $150 for Save the Date cards, $150 for programs, $550 toward Dr O's expenses, $1000 for the venue
Our income was $500 from Cone Health Foundation, Unsure if it was $200 or $300 from Healthcare for All NC, amount unknown from the Leagues' Ed Funds (Sally Austin? Regular Ed Fund?), and the rest from donations from individual League members. We did bring in a little more than we spent, though don't know the exact numbers yet.
The program will be broadcast on the community channel on April 3 and 5
Tim wrote a Letter to Ed just before the program promoting it

We will have a link to the program on the LWVPT website soon.

Discussion of LWL: Consensus was that Dr Earls was great, the other speaker weak, but overall we were satisfied that we brought an informative and worthwhile program to our members.

Vickie White-Lawrence has our remaining book marks and will put them in the LWVPT office.

Some discussion about asking Dr O to return next year since the subject will be so critical to the 2020 elections. Some things to consider are what time of year, what time of day, perhaps provide refreshments or a meal...

Rob has 2 more Rotary presentations scheduled, one for next week and one in summer.

Anna suggested we work on our messaging. Be clear, concise yet thorough. Create and disseminate it widely. Include our response/rebuttal to some of the most common objections people have to Medicare for All. Rob has begun working on this issue as he has encountered them while giving his presentation to some groups.

Ann Shaw will give up chairing this RT in the new fiscal year. Laurey Solomon agreed to chair.

Next meeting 05/06/2019 noon at Deep Roots.

Health Actions

Letters to the Editor:

Greensboro News and Record, May 2019, Wayne Hale Rising Deductibles Threaten U.S. Health

Last December it was reported that life expectancy in the U.S. decreased for the third year in a row. Canadian women now live 3 years longer and their men 4 years longer. Drug overdoses and suicides receive the most blame, but a growing contributor will be avoidance of preventive health care. The Los Angeles Times recently reported that medical insurance deductibles have quadrupled since 2006 so that on average insured people have to pay $1350 out of pocket before their medical costs begin to be covered. Since only half of non-elderly single households have liquid assets above $2000, it is very likely that a colonoscopy or stress test will be delayed if it is done at all. Increasingly, employment based health care is becoming catastrophic care, since the avoidable cancer or heart attack will result in expensive emergency care. The deductible will be met, but irreversible damage will have been done. That money may not be spent if the insured person dies, but the company's CEO certainly won't tout that cost-saving measure in the annual report to shareholders. Anxiety from being underinsured is a stressor that itself will contribute to the declining health of our nation.

Greensboro News and Record, March 17, 2019, Wayne Hale Healthcare Spending is Unsustainable

"The U.S. federal government is on an unsustainable fiscal path. ... The thing that drives our single unsustainability is health care spending. We spend 17% of GDP, everyone else spends 10%. ... It's not that benefits themselves are too generous. We deliver them in inefficient ways." You might guess that Senator Bernie Sanders said this, but it was actually Jerome Powell, Federal Reserve Board Chairman. Could that extra 7% of GDP be spent on providing services to patients, rather than on CEO salaries, excessive drug prices, middleman services, and shareholders? Healthcare costs were at the top of voters' concerns according to exit polls during the 2018 elections. The League of Women Voters of the Triad's Healthcare Roundtable is working to prepare voters for candidates' proposals related to delivering healthcare services so that they would be universally available to our population. On March 26, 2019 at 7:30 PM in Greensboro, Jonathan Oberlander, PhD. professor at the University of North Carolina will present "Unfinished Journey: The Future of Health Care Reform" at Union Square Campus at124 E. Gate City Blvd. Attendance is open and free to the public. Let's figure out how to provide effective healthcare to everyone!

Greensboro News and Record, April 15, 2018, Laurey Solomon Medicaid Expansion is the right thing to do.

A 30 year old single adult in Guilford Co whose income is $12,070/year can choose from among 6 policies that cost between $0 and $56.42/month because that person will be eligible for a subsidy under the Affordable Care Act. Someone who makes $12,050/year or less will have to pay between $225.21 and $598.42/month for the same coverage. (The threshold for eligibility for a subsidy is $12,060.) It makes no sense for someone who has less income to have to pay more for health insurance. Obviously, no one whose income is less than $12,060 can afford even the cheapest insurance available to them at $225.21/month. The Affordable Care Act was designed to offer Medicaid to people whose income was below the threshold for a subsidy. Since each state helps pay for Medicaid, the Supreme Court said each state can choose whether it does extend Medicaid to its low income residents. At the present 32 states and Wash DC offer Medicaid to people who can't afford a subsidy. North Carolina does not. And it needs to.

Letter to the Editor Greensboro News and Record April, 2018 Wayne Hale

"Save Our Medicare" The above statement is commonly seen at rallies on both sides of the political spectrum, but the sign bearer is likely unaware of the true threat to Medicare's perpetuation. Medical care costs continue to grow faster than the GDP. America spends about $5000 more per person on health care than other rich countries, but our outcomes don't make the twenty best on most measures. Since 1997 Medicare Advantage plans pay insurers a premium to keep subscribers healthier, though that result has not been proven. Meanwhile mergers give ever-larger health system businesses more clout for bargaining with other entities. E.g., CVS merging with the insurer, Cigna, purportedly will be more efficient, but shareholders rather than payers will likely reap the benefits. When have monopolies ever lowered costs for consumers? Health care will become more cost-effective when many of these unnecessary and costly middlemen are removed. Traditional Medicare has kept overhead costs under 3%. Providing Medicare for all as Canada does (for under 2% overhead) is the best way to streamline our system. Otherwise, we are just giving Paul Ryan reason to propose Medicare cutbacks because the expenses are too high to be supported by the new tax plan.

Health Resources and Links

"Rebounding with Medicare, Paul Starr<>

"A New Strategy for Health Care, Paul Starr"<

The Jonathan Oberlander presentation from March 26, 2019 is available for viewing on You Tube

The presentation was co-sponsored by the Cone Health Foundation, Health Care for all NC, and the Sally Austin Project of the LWVPT Education Fund.

The presentation was co-sponsored by the Cone Health Foundation, Health Care for all NC, and the Sally Austin Project of the LWVPT Education Fund.

The Medicare for All Continuum: A New Comparison Tool for Congressional Health Bills .

How Will Medicaid Work Requirements Affect Hospital Finances?

The North Carolina Medical Insurance Gap: A Problem for Everyone

Kaiser Family Foundation

List of primary care sources in the Piedmont Triad

Fixit Healthcare

Benefits from ACA Medicaid Expansion


Page last updated June 3, 2019.