Well, apparently, you're not alone, according to a story on NPR.


The majority of us feel left out of the health care decisions being made in Congress. I hate to call it a debate because no one's listening to us.

The insurance lobby has the ears of Congress because it has the money to get people re-elected. We just have ourselved and our stories.

But stories can be powerful, and if enough of us call our legislators and tell them, they will hear us.

Insurance companies have the money to slander the people who want change and lie about what universal access to care means, but we have the votes, and that's what gets them elected.

The insurance industry and its lobby have the money to charter buses for fake grassroots rallies, but most of us want meaningful reform, not another huge gift to corporate America.

I managed to get one bus to Washington last month by charging $55 and arranging it myself. It wasn't that hard and it was truly a grassroots effort. There's another rally coming Oct. 24. Let's all get there, and if we can't, let's call, write and visit the offices of our senators and representatives and tell them what we want.

There's still time; there's still a chance. Let's turn up the heat.


Looking Glass Falls near Brevard, NC
The kids were here this weekend -- well, three of the four; Meghan had a dance thing going on.

We had planned to do the waterfall tour -- seven waterfalls in one afternoon and then dinner at the Dillard House just over the Georgia border.

But it rained all day Saturday. We stopped at one waterfall and then went bowling. I beat Danny on the second string. I won't mention the first string, but to show how bad we all were, I won the second one with a 104. Sad.

It was a badly needed day off. Some days I feel like I can't change anything, and that's when I know I need a little me time.

We have the phone bank coming on Thursday, a whole lot of work to do on Eat at Mike's and I've been trying to squeeze in some time for grant-writing. I did finish writing the training curriculum for Patient Pals and Family Friends, and we're hoping to begin training in January.


I went to a meeting of the NC Health Access Coalition this morning, and the message was that we not give up on getting meaningful reform, even though the insurance companies' stocks shot up when Max Baucus announced his Senate committee's plan last week.

In my mind, if the insurance companies are happy, it's reason to worry.

There are still some in the coalition who want single-payer or bust; others are content to go with the Baucus plan and hope for more later.

I'm in the middle on that. Without really serious reform that makes the insurance companies and other parts of the medical-industrial complex cringe, we won't be any better off.

As it is, reform is proposed to take four years. In that time, 180,000 people will die.

In the two hours we talked today, 10 people died because they didn't have insurance. And we don't even know how many are dying because insurance companies deny one of every five claims submitted to them.

I'm in a hurry because people are dying at a rate that should infuriate every American while insurance companies' stocks rise on Wall Street.

I want the best I can get right now, but I also don't want something that saves only a few hundred lives a year. We can do better than that and we need to do it now.

When I wrote about the new Harvard medical School study that found 45,000 people die each year because they don't have health insurance, I thought I would find it in all the papers this morning.

There was nothing in my hometown paper, not even a word in the New York Times as far as I could find. And nothing in the Washington Post.

Just Reuters -- a British company -- had the story. You can read it here :


As a longtime journalist, I can tell you it wasn't hard to find the story. I had it from a source two days before it was published. That gived any competent reporter plenty of time to read it, talk to people who can analyze it and get reaction from people on both sides of the health care reform issue.

I think the reason you don't see it is that editors are afraid of being accused of being political in the middle of the health care debate by the very people who are putting lies out there about the health care bills now under consideration.

But the truth is that a person dies every 10 minutes because he or she doesn't have health insurance. Just like Mike did.  It rips at my heart to think about all those people dying with loved ones left to grieve a life cut short.

If these were the casualties of war or a terrorist attack, we would insist on something being done. Instead, the deaths are hidden from public view so the free market can go on making a killing -- once every 10 minutes, every hour of every day of every week of every month ...

A new study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that about 45,000 people die every year in this country because they don't have insurance.

The whole study is at:   http://www.pnhp.org/news/2009/september/harvard_study_finds_.php

Previously, people quoted the Institute of Medicine study that said the total is about 18,000, but that study was less comprehensive than this one. It included only whites and African-Americans, whereas this new study is more broad-based.

And that 45,000 doesn't include people who die because their insurance companies refuse to cover the necessary treatments.

Since one of every five insurance claims in this country is rejected, according to a study released last week, it's hard to even imagine what the real numbers are.

This is the conclusion reached by the study's authors: 

"Lack of health insurance is associated with as many as 44,789 deaths per year in the United States, more than those caused by kidney disease (n=42,868).  

 "The increased risk of death attributable to uninsurance suggests that alternative measures of access to medical care for the uninsured, such as community health centers, do not provide the protection of private health insurance. Despite widespread acknowledgment that enacting universal coverage would be life saving, doing so remains politically thorny.

"Now that health reform is again on the political agenda, health professionals have the opportunity to advocate universal coverage."

We who organized Sunday's rally are ready to put together another one. All we know is that we're going to do it, we hope in October. There's a whole lot of work to be done and I can't wait to get started.

I'll post information here as I get it.

Let's get 100,000 people to Washington this time!

We had about 1,000 at our rally in Washington, DC yesterday. Chck out the story at DC's ABC News 7: http://www.wjla.com/news/stories/0909/658948.html.

Too tired to write anything more now. I've been awake for almost all of the last 48 hours. But the trip was worth the effort.

In a little over an hour, I'm leaving for Washington, DC, to rally for health care for all. I know conservatives were there by the tens of thousands today and I doubt we'll have those numbers. But we have no national sponsorship or affiliations.

This is so grassroots they didn't even have a battery-powered microphone and were planning to use a megaphone until I was able to borrow one from a friend. Now I just hope the battery will stay charged for a couple of hours.

We're going there to tell our stories. Some of us have insurance, others don't. Many of us have suffered because of lack of access to health care.

Yes, I have insurance, but millions don't and that's why I crusade for access for everyone. My faith compels me to seek equal treatment for all people.