This piece was written by Jennifer Copeland, Executive Director, in conjunction with Chris Pernell, Director of Partners in Health and Wholeness.
The Council has long been an advocate for universal healthcare, dating back at least to this Governing Board resolution. In truth, universal healthcare is as old as our faith tradition that lays out guidelines for community care in the Old Testament and shows the “Great Physician” at work throughout the Gospels. Being well means being included in the community. It should always be the goal of the community for all its members to be well. Instead, in this country we have a healthcare system that siphons off most of the financial gain to the insurance companies and behemoth healthcare systems.
When the work of the Clinton Health Care Plan met a tidal wave of unsubstantiated claims by a host of special interest groups in 1993, health insurance remained in the hands of employers, many of whom try all manner of maneuvering to limit employee hours just under the benefits threshold of 30 hrs/wk. Many small businesses struggle to afford health insurance coverage for their employees or simply are unable to find affordable options for themselves and their employees despite their best intentions. Furthermore, employer-provided health insurance, as we learned through the massive layoffs during the Covid Crisis, only works when one is employed. Medicaid and Medicare don’t fill all the gaps for the over 29 million people in the United States left out of a system that, in the first place, was designed to put profit over people.
The Affordable Care Act offered the first substantive step forward for healthcare access in this country since 1965 when Medicaid and Medicare were signed into law. But even this effort falls short, especially in places like North Carolina where lawmakers refuse to accept federal funding for Medicaid expansion.
And, so, we believe it’s time for employers to get out of the health insurance business. Healthcare access should not be in the hands of actuaries intent on playing the odds to help their companies turn a profit. It should be in the hands of patients and providers.
In concert with our allies at Healthcare for All, NC, we will work to educate the general public about the benefits of universal healthcare and mobilize them to work with legislators to make it happen. In the meantime, the Council does not participate in the flawed system of employer provided health insurance. Instead, we are working outside that system to provide our staff the means to make their own healthcare decisions because we believe healthcare is a human right.
Ways to get involved:
- The Human Rights Day Press Conference held on Dec. 10 in Raleigh featuring the Executive Director, Jennifer Copeland reached thousands of people and brought new activists into the fold! You can watch and share this YouTube playlist of the coalition’s Human Rights Day Press Conference.
- Sign the North Carolina Medicare for All (NC for M4A) petition to the Biden/Harris administration and NC’s new Congressional delegation to support passage of Medicare for all.
- Help get attention for Medicare for All in the new Congress. Click here to fill out a request form to receive some of our original Medicare for All postcards in the mail, fill them out, and mail them to your member of Congress in January.
- There’s still time to help sway reps and join a Congressional Meeting in the following districts. Email email@example.com to get involved:
- District 2 (Rep Ross) – next meeting Thursday, Jan. 7 at 7pm, register here.
- District 4 (Rep Price)
- District 6 (Rep Manning)
- Districts 9 (Rep Bishop)
- District 12 (Rep Adams)