We offer support to people with illness and disability to new mothers and to families, and we advocate for health care for all.
Would you like to see a Medicaid expansion bill pass in North Carolina WITHOUT a work requirement? Please sign our petition here: https://secure.everyaction.com/wnltqwYKl0OXiV3xY9ax3w2
The Orange One's executive order will make it harder to enroll in Marketplace insurance plans, will make it harder to take advantage of a special enrollment period and make it easier to violate the law by not charging people the non-enrollment penalty tax. In other words they are sabotaging the law so that it will fail. Then they will claim it collapsed under its own weight and they will repeal it -- and all the protections that come with it, and they will not replace it with anything.
This will cause the deaths of some 45,000 or more innocent Americans every year.
45,000. Or more. Dead. Every. Year.
Will one of them be your child, your sibling, your parent, your spouse?
I know my Congressional delegation (Thom Tillis, Richard Burr and Mark Meadows) are all anti-life, murdering thugs and I won't be able to convince them that these lives are worth saving, but you and I, we know they are.
Your vote matters. If you didn't vote in the 2016 election because politics bores or angers you, this blood is on your hands too. Think about that.
For those of you who are interested, we will be delivering "Have a Heart" post cards to Sen. Burr's office at noon on Valentine's Day, asking him not to vote for repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
I don't know that we'll actually be allowed in because I sent an e-mail a week ago (the phone mailbox was full) and it hasn't been answered yet.
But please join us, and if we can't get in, we'll put post card stamps on those post cards and mail them to him.
Time: NOON on Feb. 14
Place: The Veach-Baley Federal Office Building, 151 Patton Ave., Asheville.
[02/07/17] Friends, do you have a story of how the Affordable Care Act has helped you -- do you have a pre-existing condition? Would you be unable to afford insurance without the subsidy from the Marketplace? We need two people to tell their stories at a press event on Valentine's Day. Would you PM me (Leslie Boyd) if you would be willing to speak?
Please do this now.
The Senate passed the first step of the repeal of the ACA in the dead of night last night, like the vermin they are. Every one of us needs to call our representatives NOW to tell them we expect them to vote against this murderous bill. If you don;t know who your representative is, visit here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
PLEASE DO THIS NOW, AND PLEASE SHARE WIDELY!
Last fall, I shared a photo of my son taken a few weeks before he died. It infuriated my family because that's not how he wanted to be remembered. It's not how I wanted to remember him either, but it's what was done to him by the people who denied him the care he needed, and I believed the world needed to see that. It has been shared 118,000 times so far. I have promised my family I won't use that photo again, but Mamie Till did the right thing. If we don't open the caskets of people who have died and are dying from injustice, nothing will change. It's shocking and it's painful, but people need to see it.
facingsouth.org Sixty-one years after a grief-stricken mother invited the world to witness the brutality of white supremacy, a new museum dedicated to the African-American experience will put her son's casket on display — an exhibit that aims to ensure future generations remember America's painful past and how it s...
This has been going on for 35 years or more. As a business writer/editor in Paterson, NJ, in 1983, I ran a story about a medication for sheep that cost pennies per dose. As soon as it was approved for humans, the price jumped to $10 per dose, and nothing about the drug had changed except its approval status. It's about damn time we at least started looking at this, but nothing will be done as long as the oligarchs are in charge.
bipartisanreport.com People were rightfully outraged when Mylan Pharmaceuticals raised the price of EpiPens by more than 400 percent. The public outcry has caused Senate democrats to take action. Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, who serves as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote a letter to Mylan’s CEO...
The fight to keep health care unaffordable for most of us is being led by "pro-life" politicians. When someone with diabetes can't get medications, they die. They die from kidney failure, they die from heart attacks and strokes, and they cost taxpayers a fortune before they go in dialysis, in surgeries to amputate limbs and more. It's foolhardy and inhumane, but we voters keep electing people who perpetuate this broken system.
Ouch! I'll bet that scolding stings almost as much as dying from an allergic reaction, huh? How about some regulation, Congress? What the hell is wrong with you???
pbs.org Mylan has raised the list price of EpiPens more than 450 percent since 2004, after adjusting for inflation, according to Elsevier’s Gold Standard Drug Database. A pack of two EpiPens cost about $100 in today’s dollars in 2004, but the list price now tops $600.
[08/23/16] We are migrating our web site from iPage to Bluehost, so you might not be able to access it. We still need donations, though, so you can mail a check to PO Box 1213, Asheville, NC 28802.
We still need your help. Just a few dollars, please? Visit www.wnchealthadvocates.org and donate securely using PayPal. Thanks.
wnchealthadvocates.org Health care advocacy
Can you help? www.wnchealthadvocates.org
We need your help right now. Can you go to www.wnchealthadvocates.org and donate a few dollars? Anything helps.
We need your help right now. Can you go to www.wnchealthadvocates.org and donate a few dollars? Anything helps.
You only get to survive if you can afford it.
thinkprogress.org The cost of EpiPens has increased about 450 percent.
Just so you know, this isn't about problems with the Affordable Care Act; it's a hissy fit because the Obama Administration is blocking the merger with Humana.
More of the same from our "pro-life" administration and legislature in Raleigh. I really do hope there will be a judgment day. I wrote about CAP/MR-DD in 2002, when there were as many families waiting for help from the program as there were already in the program, and no one had gotten in for five years. That was about children with developmental disabilities, not children who might die without immediate help. The blood of the innocents is on their hands.
newsobserver.com North Carolina on Monday stopped adding more children to a Medicaid program known as CAP/C that pays for in-home nursing care and other benefits.
commondreams.org Insurance behemoth Aetna announced late Monday that it is pulling out of Obamacare public exchanges in 11 states, citing projected financial losses because of the high number of people who—it turns out—need expensive medical care.Following a string of similar announcements, advocates of single-payer...
A tragic tale of death by poverty, from Rev. Dr. Rodney Sadler:
A sermon from Dr Sadler
Poverty Killed Shawn
Statesville Avenue Presbyterian Church
14 Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country.
15 He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read,
17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.
21 Then he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." (Luk 4:14-21 NRS)
This Friday I lost a friend. Shawn Bracey! He was a young man only 40 years old, a good man, or goodish man…in the process of becoming a better man. He was not a perfect man; not a man with a halo over his head…he had done things wrong. He grew up on the hard streets of North Philadelphia in some of the roughest neighborhoods in the country. In order to survive he did things that most of us would be appalled by. He messed with drugs, he was even a stick up kid. When he was young, he had a gun and would rob you for your money. Odd thing is, he didn’t really want to use his gun. One day, he pulled it on someone who had a gun of their own. He decided not to shoot, while the other guy decided to shoot…fourteen shots later he was in the hospital clinging to his life.
But that was years ago…the fourteen shots did not kill him. In fact, that’s the odd part of this story…all that should have killed him didn’t. His years in prison did not kill him. He was incarcerated for numerous crimes over the years and spent the better part of 18 years behind bars. When he finally got out of prison for the last time, he vowed he would never go back again. Unlike so many others, he kept his vow, except for an arrest for trespassing or panhandling or some other law that we have on our books to abuse poor people asking for help. (Why does it make sense to fine a poor man begging for food for his family $500 that he does not have for asking for food that his family needs to survive?) He kept himself largely clean, away from violence, away from crime, away from the dangers that had put him at risk for years.
But what actually killed him wasn’t the bullets, it wasn’t the crime, it wasn’t North Philly, it wasn’t the prisons. It was poverty! My friend Shawn Bracey was murdered by poverty. He lived his life trying to survive and find a way for his wife, his two adopted boys here and his two boys in Philly to survive. He was constantly looking for a job and took whatever job he could find. One of them was a job he got at Burger King that he lost before he started. He lost it because his littlest son was hungry and he asked a patron if he could help the boy and buy him a burger. The patron said yes, but then went and told the supervisor who had just hired him…and the next day he fired him…and forbade him from working again in any Burger King…anywhere, ever!
He later found a job at McDonalds. A job where the employers would only give him work in four hour shifts so that he wouldn’t be classified as full time and he would not have to be given benefits like health care. This job was an hour and a half bus ride from home…and when the buses would stop running at 6 and he had to work until 9 or 10, he would routinely pay $18 for a cab ride home. Let’s see, make just over $32 dollars for day’s work, minus taxes, and then shell out about $20 for transportation to work. That doesn’t really add up, does it?
He lost that job too, shortly after he had a nosebleed that would not stop and his shift supervisor sent him home. He rode the 1 ½ bus ride home with his nose like a fountain and got home to his wife to told him that she had seen these symptoms before…he was having a heart attack. A few days later, he is recovering at CMC North East with a diagnosis of congestive heart failure and accumulating more debt in medical expenses. He was given prescriptions for medicine he could not afford that he had to take to save his life. It came down to paying for his rent and paying for food and so paying for “statins” other heart medications did not make any sense…
In recent months, he had been doing better. He had had another steady job, still at the slave pay we call “minimum wage” but getting a few more hours. His wife was a shift supervisor at another fast food restaurant and was making a little more than he and had basic benefits. They had been given a car so they could make it to work at the odd hours they needed to be there and were getting on their feet. But…because there is always a “but” in their lives,
-but his wife blew out her knee and needed surgery, so she lost her job.
-But their car broke down on his way to work and he could not make it on time, so he lost his job.
-But…life intervened yet again and he was down and out and fighting for a comeback.
Recently he got a new job…was supposed to start it just this week coming. His wife was scheduled to have her surgery last Thursday, so she could start work again after her recuperation. Things were looking up! But…I got a phone call on Wednesday evening from a church member of the church I used to pastor here in Charlotte. She told me that after the great day she spent with this family, after the laughter and joy she shared with them, after his accounts of the good things that were happening in his life, after she had left to return home…Shawn had had a heart attack.
He died on the way to the hospital. They revived him…but he never regained consciousness. He lingered for two more days and then on Friday, at about 11:30am, they declared him brain dead. He had died because for all of his efforts, for all of his attempts to support himself and his family, for all of his work to improve his lot in life, to go to church, to turn his life around, to live righteously…in spite of all he did, he still couldn’t afford his statins and heart medicine.
So Shawn died largely because of poverty. Oh, there were other accomplices too.
-There were employers who would not give him the hours he needed to get healthcare because they were more concerned about profits than the people who worked for them. They were accomplices!
-There was Pat McCrory and the North Carolina GA who refused to allow for North Carolinians to receive Medicaid Expansion part of the Affordable Care Act. So the care he was entitled to by Federal law was denied him because of extremist partisan politics. They were certainly accomplices!
But then I wonder if we were accomplices too. If we in the Church, were we in part responsible? Now I know we have done a great job with making sure that poor people eat…we have feeding programs, help Loaves and Fishes, donate extra food from church events to the shelters. We have housing programs, do our monthly commitment in the winter time to Room in the Inn, give money to the Men’s Shelter, send volunteers to Moore Place. We have job training programs, have a computer lab down the hall, allow Junior Achievement to have monthly meetings, give money to the Urban League. And we are part of a church and faith network that extends across the neighborhood, across the city, across the state, across the nation, and around the world…but in spite of all that we do…poverty is still here.
Poverty is violence, according to Dr. King. It is an evil so great that even Dr. King would advocate fighting a war against. It is that monstrous act of systemically condemning someone to having less than they need to survive. It is that hope stealing, soul crucifying, life ending, world limiting, enthusiasm breaking, joy crushing, sense of lack that makes living a tedious chore of scrimping and scraping and scratching to get just enough to almost make it. It is the stress to that it puts on people who never know which “but” will undo their success today, who never know how a bill will be paid, if it will be paid, or what has to be done without today.
In our world, poverty tends to favor those in black and brown skin, tends to choose those least well educated, tends to cherish those with the least marketable skills. In our nation, poverty tends to be associated with lack of a work ethic, with laziness, with giving up, with lack of worthiness, with a desire to “live off the system,” with personal faults of “poor” individuals; while those who live in this state are of necessity those who have to fight the hardest just to make it every day.
Jesus said he came to “bring good news to the poor…” Well what good news are the poor getting from us? Have we worked to end poverty? Have we just stuck to band-aids that cover the problems up, that keep people going, but that don’t change the status quo so that poverty is no more. Instead of helping the poor, why haven’t we been concerned with ending poverty?
Yes, I think the church has played a role in Shawn’s death too. We have been lulled into a state of complacency. The church does just enough in response to the evils of this world to say that we did something, but never enough to actually make a change.
-We see hungry people and we give them something to eat; but do we ever ask why it is that they cannot feed themselves and work to change that?
-We see homeless people and we put them up for a night, give them a meal, and send them back into the streets at 7 the next morning; but do we ever ask why it is that housing costs so much more than most people make and is that fair?
-We see unemployed people and we offer them day labor, a job training program, a used suit, and a pat on the back; but do we ever ask why it is that the “job creators” won’t hire black and brown people, won’t hire people from certain neighborhoods, won’t hire people with criminal records, and is that right?
-We see poor people and:
-We question their work ethic : ”Why don’t they try harder?”
-We question their morals; “What did they do to deserve this?”
-We question their value; “Why are they looking for a handout?”
-We question their worthiness; “Why should I pay higher taxes for them?”
We question everything about them…but never question the system that produces so many suffering people. Why it is that in the richest country in the history of the world, there are so many homeless, hopeless, hurting, impoverished, despondent people? Why is it that the system allows for so many to languish and gives so many no option to lift themselves up? Why is it that in Charlotte, one of the richest banking capitols in our nation, we have the worst upward social mobility…so that if you are born poor, you will most likely die poor? Why is it that no one seems concerned to end the violence of poverty once and for all?
Who is to blame for poverty?
Poverty is a crime…but the criminal is not the poor as Trump or the media or the conservatives might have us believe. No poverty is a crime of the wealthy, those who have more than enough, but refuse to give the poor “enough.” Poverty is a crime in the richest nation in the history of the earth, for “those who have” have hoarded what those who don’t have need to survive. If you don’t believe me, listen to God:
Ezekiel 16:49 This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.(Eze 16:49 NRS)
It is a sin for a society to be prosperous but to allow poverty to exist. God will destroy such a society. (I’m glad I don’t live in such a place!)
Jeremiah 22:13 13 Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper rooms by injustice; who makes his neighbors work for nothing, and does not give them their wages; (Jer 22:13 NRS)
It is wrong for the wealthy to exploit the poor and to use them to work for unfair wages so that they can live in luxury. It is wrong not to pay people a living wage and to exploit them so that someone else can live extravagantly.
Amos 2:6-7 6 Thus says the LORD: For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals--
7 they who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth, and push the afflicted out of the way; (Amo 2:6-7 NRS)
Israel here has commodified human life and exploited the needy and the poor and the afflicted for their own economic advantage. You see in Scripture, when dealing with poverty, in almost every instance, God does not find the fault to be with the poor, but with the rich, the wealthy, those who have but refuse to give, those who can help but who refuse to do so, those for whom the system works, so they refuse to change the system to help those whom the system consumes. God destroys societies, like Sodom, like Israel, like Judah where the wealthy live in luxury and ignore the poor. (Thank God we don’t live in a world where we have untold wealth and extreme poverty…) What is even more disturbing is God’s word to the people of faith, those of us who celebrate God in our rituals but who fail to care for God who lives in our sisters and brothers in need.
Isaiah 1:10-17 10 Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Listen to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah!
11 What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.
12 When you come to appear before me, who asked this from your hand? Trample my courts no more;
13 bringing offerings is futile; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and sabbath and calling of convocation-- I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity.
14 Your new moons and your appointed festivals my soul hates; they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.
16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil,
17 learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. (Isa 1:10-17 NRS)
You see, God rejects our worship and our offerings and our holy days and our festivals and our songs and our prayers (and I would say even our preaching) when we refuse to “do good, seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the fatherless children, help the husbandless mother.” When we pretend to play church and allow poverty to persist, to consume lives, to destroy people, to undermine opportunity, to crush hope, then God says that even our worship is unacceptable. God hates this! If we are God’s people, then we are called to work against systemic poverty and to work for a better world where all God’s people are valued, are empowered, are respected, are protected, have “enough!” If we are God’s people, then poverty is our enemy too and we are called to do what we can to slay this demon once and for all!
The Jewish problem with Christianity
Let me step back for a second and ask a question. Do you want to know why Jews don’t believe in Jesus? Do you want to know why Jesus’ own people do not believe that he was the Messsiah and do not worship him or follow him? It’s actually quite simple. Dr. Amy-Jill Levine, a Jewish New Testament professor from Vanderbilt said it this way:
For Jews, claims of Jesus’ divine sonship and fulfillment of the messianic prophecies are false. Since we live in a world of cancer and AIDS, war and genocide, earthquakes and hurricanes, the messianic age cannot be here yet. Since there is no messianic age, obviously the messiah has not yet come. (Levine, Misunderstood Jew, 17)
You see, Jews look at the world and see its brokenness and human suffering and sinfulness and declare that Jesus can’t be the Messiah, because if he was, the world would be a better place. If the Messiah had come, the brokenness would have been fixed, the suffering would have ended. If the Messiah had come we would at least be trying to fix what is broken…working on “tikkun olam,” the repair of the world.
But what if the problem is not that the Messiah has not come, but that the church did not do what it was supposed to do? What if the problem is that the Messiah has come, but we did not follow his message and work to make the world a better place? What if we were told:
- That “Justice and only justice shall you pursue,” and we instead offered the poor charity and prayers without action?
- That Jesus came to bring the “Kingdom of God” “on earth as it is in Heaven;” and we instead developed the impotent institutional sanctuary based church?
- That we were to care for the hungry, thirsty, naked, strangers, sick, and imprisoned like we care for God; and we instead chose to ignore them, denigrate them, blame them, castigate them, humiliate them, and abuse them?
- That the “Kingdom of God is among you,” that its here, that we are not to look for it to come over here or over there; and we instead chose to wait on Jesus to fix it, wait for God to make it right, instead of doing our part to work with God to be the change we want to see.
What if the problem is not that the Messiah has not come, that we aren’t living in the Messianic age, but that we just have not done our part in making this world a better place. I have come to believe that the problem is not that Jesus isn’t the Messiah or that we aren’t living in the Messianic age; the problem is that we have committed the church’s biggest sin…waiting:
-So slavery existed on our shores for almost 250 years and the church said, “Wait on Jesus to make it alright.”
-Jim Crow and Separate but (un)equal was the law of the land and the church said, “Wait on Jesus to make it alright.”
-The crack epidemic, the crack wars, and AIDS ravaged our communities and the church said, “Wait on Jesus to make it alright.”
-Mass incarceration is taking 1 of every 3 of our young men and condemning them to a life behind bars or with a criminal record and the church says, “Wait on Jesus to make it alright.”
-Israel and Palestine are in a civil war for survival, ISIS is threatening the stability of the world, Boko Haram is destroying countless lives in Nigeria, the world has come undone and the church says, “Wait on Jesus to make it alright.”
-Poverty continues to destroy the lives of so many Americans, particularly those who live in black and brown skin, our government is saying it’s the fault of the poor while giving tax breaks to the rich, we have refused Medicaid Expansion in North Carolina and that is costing 2,700 people a year to die unnecessary deaths from lack of treatment, and my friend Shawn is now dead because he could not afford the medicine he needed to survive and the church says, “Wait on Jesus to make it alright.”
I wonder if the problem is not that we are waiting on God, but that God is waiting on us!
Jesus came to proclaim “good news” to the poor. Our Gospel message is supposed to entail “good news” for the poor. Our Christian teaching should manifest this “good news” for the poor. I know…I sound like I’m talking politics. I sound like I am making a political speech…but if you read God’s Word carefully, you can help but see that the Bible has political implications!
18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor (We call that “poverty abatement, a Living Wage, and a social safety net”). He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives (We call that an end “mass incarceration” and the imprisonment of black and brown bodies) and recovery of sight to the blind (We call that “Health care for all”), to let the oppressed go free (We call that an end to “racism” and anti-black, brown, Muslim, and immigrant policies, and Black Lives Matter),
Jesus Message has political implications and it has from the beginning. This is Good News,
-God doesn’t just want to save our souls, God also wants to improve our lives in this world.
-God does not just want to us to long for a sweet bye and bye, but to work for a better today in the here and now.
-God doesn’t just want to improve our spiritual life, but to use that spiritual formation to lead us to labor to make this a better world.
-God does not want to make us personally moral as individuals, but also socially just as a community!
-God’s Love is not limited to individuals, but as Cornell West says, “Justice is what Love looks like in public!”
6 Now while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,
7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table.
8 But when the disciples saw it, they were angry and said, "Why this waste?
9 For this ointment could have been sold for a large sum, and the money given to the poor."
10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me.
11 For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. (Mat 26:6-11 NRS)
3 While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head.
4 But some were there who said to one another in anger, "Why was the ointment wasted in this way?
5 For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor." And they scolded her.
6 But Jesus said, "Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me.
7 For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me.
(Mar 14:3-7 NRS)
2 There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him.
3 Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said,
5 "Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?"
6 (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.)
7 Jesus said, "Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial.
8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me." (Joh 12:2-8 NRS)
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