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A health care reality check

In his excellent book, Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans health care advocate Wendell Potter tells the story of how seeing average citizens standing in line for hours to receive volunteer health care in animal stalls at a fairground helped wake him up to the reality of the American health care crisis/tragedy. There’s something about confronting the reality of hard working people forced to beg for charity that sends a very powerful message.

Dr. William Blaylock has clearly experienced the same feelings as Potter. As a practicing dentist and the head of North Carolina Missions of Mercy, Blaylock gets to experience the same phenomenon all the time. And, as he relates in this morning’s Raleigh News & Observer, it’s a situation that cries out for attention.

The bottom line is that as Medicaid rolls shrink, more of us will be forced into that ugly limbo where regular dental care becomes impossible. If it comes down to a choice between buying groceries and a dental check-up, guess what will win out.

It is vital that North Carolina leaders do not balance the state’s budget on the backs of so many who need, and deserve, care. Medicaid is not the only answer and neither is Missions of Mercy. But in the midst of crisis we are called to do what we must and what is right for those in terrible need of care and attention.

So, as we move forward into the new and unknown territory of health care reform, lawmakers and regulators should weigh the consequences of letting more North Carolinians go unprotected. We cannot let the destitute and working poor go without help.

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