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A small number of seats remain for tomorrow’s Crucial Conversation luncheon:

“The truth about North Carolina’s Medicaid program: Why it’s not ‘broken’ or in need of privatization”

The event will  feature one of the nation’s most knowledgeable experts on health care policy: Ron Pollack, Executive Director of the Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization, Families USA.

Hope you can join us!

Click here to register.

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The editorial page of Raleigh’s News & Observer tells it like it is this morning in this editorial about North Carolina’s misguided decision not to expand Medicaid.

“The Republicans’ reasons for opting out vary, but the effect is same: A forgoing of federal funds that will leave many low-income people uninsured and will cost the state and hospitals more for uncompensated care. Those consequences did not stop North Carolina and 14 other states – all with Republican governors – from refusing to participate.

Now a new report by the RAND Corp. shows how colossal is the cost of this obstinacy. The report, published in the June edition of Health Affairs, looked at 14 states whose governors were opposed to expanding the Medicaid program as of April 25. The costs will likely be higher because at least one more state has joined the holdouts and several are still weighing going that route.”

To learn more about this subject, be sure to register for next Tuesday’s Crucial Conversation luncheon with national Medicaid expert Ron Pollack of the advocacy group Families USA. Seats are going fast!

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NC Policy Watch and the Health Advocacy Team at the North Carolina Justice Center are proud to announce a very special and timely Crucial Conversation luncheon,

The truth about North Carolina’s Medicaid program: Why it’s not “broken” or in need of privatization

featuring one of the nation’s most knowledgeable experts on health care policy: Ron Pollack, Executive Director of the Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization, Families USA.

Click here to register.

Background: Hardly a day goes by of late in which Gov. McCrory, House Speaker Tillis, Senate President Pro Tem Berger or some other conservative leader doesn’t allege that Medicaid, North Carolina’s health care program for poor people, is “broken.” In speech after speech, event after event, media appearance after media appearance, conservative state leaders repeat the same mantra: To rein in “out-of-control” spending, Medicaid must be fundamentally altered so that it is a program based on “choice,” “efficiency” and “competition.”

Why you should care: Though superficially appealing, there’s one big problem with the conservative talking points: They are demonstrably false. The truth of the matter is that Read More

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Close to 100 attorneys, progressive advocates and Triangle-area residents gathered today to discuss the continuing judicial vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, growing numbers of federal judicial vacancies elsewhere, delayed U.S. Senate confirmations of presidential nominees and the ongoing need for increased diversity on the bench.

Speakers at the event, “Why Courts Matter,” included 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge James A. Wynn, Jr., and Andrew Blotky, director of Legal Progress at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C.

As Blotky pointed out, there are 82 current vacancies on the federal bench, with an additional 20 vacancies that will occur this year—meaning that nearly 65 percent of the population lives in a community with a courtroom vacancy.

And while it took roughly 35 days for the Senate to get George W. Bush’s nominees to a vote, it’s taken 150 days for Barack Obama’s to get to that point.

Both Wynn and Blotky called for the quick confirmation of fair, impartial, clear-thinking and diverse judges to fill those vacancies—which even when filled, Wynn added, would only solve the backlog. The U.S. Judicial Conference has called for the creation of additional judgeships to meet caseload demand.

The judges who sit on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina handle one of the heaviest caseloads in the country, approaching nearly 800 cases per judge in 2012. And they’ve been waiting for help for close to eight years now.

The court, based in Raleigh but with courtrooms elsewhere along the eastern part of the state, now has the dubious distinction of having the oldest federal judicial vacancy in the country. The seat&mdashh;opened up on Dec. 31, 2005, when Judge Malcolm J. Howard took senior status—has been unfilled for more than 2,500 days. Read More