Check out the details at The woman behind the rally has insurance, but she can't bear the thought that good people are dying because they don't have access to care.

Julie Paulson remembers before she was receiving disability, when she had to ask doctors to give her the diabetes medications and supplies she needs to survive.

"I'm over-insured now," she said. "I have my husband's insurance and Medicare."

When a local reporter interviewed her about the rally she's organizing, Julie said, he was amazed she would do this work, since she has insurance.

He expected the I-got-mine-get-your-own mentality of so many Americans.

But she remembers being under-insured, and she hears the stories of others.

What if she hadn't been able to get those medications, and what about the 52 million people who don't have access to health care? What about the families of the tens of thousands of people who die every year?

Julie and I talked for an hour today and I'm volunteering to do what I can to get people out.

I'm also speaking at the rally to tell Mike's story.

I hope we can get enough people out to change the minds of some members of Congress.

Be there if you can. Sept. 13, marching from the Lincoln Memorial.

We had 300 people at the rally today. They came from all over Western North Carolina. 
It was a great day. The signs were clever, the crowd friendly. No one called anyone names, no one shouted over anyone, and we heard some compelling stories.

One man had a friend who was hit by lightning and he was intrigued as to whether that would be covered by insurance (as a combat veteran, all his health care is covered by the VA, but he was curious).

So he called one insurance company and they said it wouldn't be covered because it was an act of God. The second company said it would be covered if he had no pre-existing conditions and if it was determined he needed medical treatment.

One woman came forward to tell about her daughter, a cancer survivor, who couldn't get coverage in the United States, so she moved to Japan to teach English as a second language and she's covered now.

We were the lead story on WLOS News tonight at 6. Maybe it was a slow news day, but that's OK -- we're getting the word out.

I've been working feverishly all week to put together this health care rally and tomorrow's the day. I hope we get a huge crowd to let our leaders know we really want health care now.

I'm as ready as I can be. Now we'll just have to see how many people come out.

I had an op-ed piece in today's paper. Check it out at

I've had mostly good responses and a call from an old friend who didn't know I had left the paper. That friend has offered his time and energy to our cause.

Things are going well. I hope our luck continues until we have access to quality health care for all Americans.

Our story circle tonight was small, but it was a start. We want to do this again next month and hear more stories from more people. I believe this is the best place for us to start learning what we can do in the community to make people's health care experience better.

I listened to Rep. Heath Shuler's radio town hall this afternoon, and I wasn't terribly impressed. He had a lot of excuses why we shouldn't pass reform now, but they were just excuses.

I don't know why he isn't for getting it done when hundreds of people die every day from lack of care.

Now, I'll agree that the current bill isn't perfect, but we've adjusted Medicare along the way and it's a good system. We need to get something passed now that will give people access to care. We can tweak it as we go along.

Rep. Shuler said he wanted to scrap the current bill and start over, but he offered no specifics on what he would like to see in a new bill.

 He kept repeating that we need to control waste, fraud and abuse, but he offered no statistics to tell us how big the problem might be, and he never mentioned that the private sector is rife with those same problems-- especially the abuse part.

I'm not saying I don't support Rep. Shuler, but he offered very little information in his two hours on the air today. I was hoping for more.

Our health care rally is just two days away and we're getting a lot of attention and help. The Asheville chapter of the NAACP is on board as a cosponsor of the rally and I've been fielding calls for the last two days from people who plan to come with friends and family.

I'm hoping for a real crowd so we can show our legislators that most of us want access to quality health care for all Americans.



I am often struck by the lunacy of what is happening in our country. Who would have thought 30 years ago that we would be at this point fighting for basic human rights? I heard about this site on the Ed Schultz show and decided to check it out. My son is also not covered by any insurance. He was told by the dentist that he had to take out his wisdom teeth and the dentist wanted him to pay $5000. My son is a jazz musician and does not have that kind of money laying around. My son, Nick was smart. He called his musician friends in Peru( yes, South America) and had the same procedure done for $350. It was Nick who took me to the hospital when I began to go into shock at work. I also have no insurance as a small business owner. The hospital charged me $27,000 to take out my appendix. I negociated them down to $13,000. When my customers, friends, and fellow small business people heard what had happened, they made a benefit that raised enough money to pay off most of what I owed and give an equal amount to the local community access clinic. After all this, there is some doubt that what was wrong with me was really my appendix. So much for the best health care in the world.

Thirty years ago no American could have believed that we would be standing here now fighting for our jobs, our healthcare, our homes, and our middle-class lifestyle. Of course, thirty years ago no one imagined we would have Fox News or eight years of a moronic president put into office by stealing the election. There has always been corruption in this country but now it is more the rule than the exception. The only way to stop this slide down the drain is for us " the commons" to band together and speak loudly and solidly about what must change. The right, they are organized. The rest of us, what are we doing?

I was on the Ed Shultz Radio Show again today. I called in yesterday, but he called me today. I'm so excited to get Mike's story out there. We need to put some human faces on this issue so people will see the immorality of our current system.

I got a call this morning from the NC Justice Center's Health Access Coalition, of which Life o' Mike is a member.

The coalition is calling for a day of action next Saturday to help debunk some of the misinformation that's out there and show that the majority of people still support real, meaningful reform.

This isn't about money; it's about human lives, and halfway measures won't fix it. We need real change.

So, we'll be out at Pritchard Park in Asheville 10 a.m.-noon next Saturday to enocourage our legislators to stand strong against the special interests.