Making Democracy Work

Health Care

Understanding Changes to Your Insurance: Info Session on June 11, 2014

The Chapel Hill Public Library will host an informal session to assist the public in sorting through insurance policy terms and concepts and help residents understand the basics of their policies.

Health Insurance 101, or "I'm Enrolled, Now What?", will be held at at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 11, in Meeting Room A at the Chapel Hill Public Library. The session is free and open to the public with no registration required.

The Library and its partners assisted more than 300 residents in obtaining health care insurance during the recent open enrollment period. The library sees connecting residents with resources that can help them decipher the 'ABC's' of their health care coverage as the next step in the enrollment process.

Health insurance professional Janet Hoy, who has 25 years of experience in the insurance and health plan industry, will be presenting the session and notes, "Understanding how health insurance plans work is incredibly important but unfortunately incredibly complicated and full of lots of insurance specific terms. It helps to have a translator."

To learn more, stop by the library, visit, or call 919-968-2780.

A department of the Town of Chapel Hill, the Chapel Hill Public Library offers connections, choices, and community. To find out more about the library, is collections, programs, and services, visit or follow the Library on Facebook and Twitter (chpublib).

April 29, 2014 Program on Expanding Medicaid in NC

The League of Women Voters of Orange, Durham, and Chatham Counties will sponsor a discussion of Medicaid expansion on Tuesday, April 29. The program is part of the League's statewide initiative to educate the community about the fiscal realities of Medicaid expansion and to encourage the State Legislature to reconsider expanding Medicaid in North Carolina.

The program will be held at the Chapel Hill Public Library, Meeting Room A, at 7:00pm on April 29. It is free and open to the public. Parking is available. Reservations are not required.

This event was originally scheduled for April 8, and has been re-scheduled for April 29.

Affordable Care Act Speakers Bureau

Members of the LWVODC Speakers' Bureau will be presenting an educational program on the Affordable Care Act on Dec. 4, 2013 in Chapel Hill and Dec. 7 and Jan. 21 in Durham. Program is free and open to the public. See LWVODC Calendar for more details.

Affordable Health Care At A Glance

Volunteer to be an ACA Certified Application Counselor

League of Women Voters and Planned Parenthood have teamed up to help people enroll in health insurance through the Marketplace website created by the Affordable Care Act. We've been helping people throughout the fall, but we need more trained volunteers to work with individuals who need coverage. We need your help, whether you have lots of time to volunteer or just an hour a week! Read More

ACA Enrollment Help in Chapel Hill

The Chapel Hill Public Library is partnering with area organizations to provide a "sign-up hub" for the Affordable Care Act.

The library will offer regular sessions in their enclosed computer lab for residents to meet one-on-one with Certified Application Counselors. Reservations and walk-ins will be available during these free, regularly scheduled sessions. Call the library at 919-968-2780 for session times, reservations, and to find out what information to bring in order to get signed up with a healthcare plan.

Librarian Shannon Bailey notes, "Citizens turn to their libraries as a trusted resource and the Chapel Hill Public Library is committed to connecting patrons with the information and resources they need in order to sign up for health insurance." In addition to sign up sessions, the library will be hosting informational programs to provide an overall understanding of the Affordable Care Act.

The Chapel Hill Public Library is partnering with UNC Healthcare, the League of Women Voters of Orange-Durham-Chatham, Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina, and UNC's Student Health Action Coalition. To learn more and stay posted on ACA services at the Library, stop by the library, visit their website, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

A department of the Town of Chapel Hill, the Chapel Hill Public Library offers connections, choices, and community. To find out more about the library, is collections, programs, and services, visit or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Jan. - March, 2013 Health Care Series Summary

LWVODC hosted a series of discussions on the impact of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act on North Carolinians.

  • Dr. Pam Silberman,President & CEO of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine and Co-Publisher of the North Carolina Medical Journal, spoke on January 30 on the impact on North Carolina specifically and the health care safety net. To see her presentation, click here

Dr. Silberman presenting her slides

Dr. Silberman and League member Janey Hoy

  • Dr. John Oberlander, Professor of Social Medicine and Health Policy & Management at UNC with an adjunct appointment in the Department of Political Science, met with League members and the public on Feb. 12 and reviewed the status of the Affordable Care Act and the issues relative to its implementation in NC. He discussed the impact of recent decisions made by the NC legislature and defined what the implications are for NC citizens.

  • Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, NC Insurance Commissioner and the regulator in charge of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act spoke to League members and the public on Feb. 27 on the role and scope of the NC Department of Insurance and its responsibilities relative to the Affordable Care Act. He provided an overview of the regulatory requirements for the development of the exchanges and the issues relative to their development and implementation in the state now that the Legislature has decided to let the Federal government develop and manage the exchanges in NC. Watch a video of his presentation on YouTube.

  • A Panel discussion was held on March 20 on the impact of the ACA in NC:
    - Skip Woody, Hill, Chesson and Woody, Insurance Brokers.
    - Abigail DeVries, MD, Piedmont Health Services Medical Director.
    - Karen McCall, Vice President of Public Affairs and Marketing at UNC Health Care
    - Don Bradley, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Director at BCBSNC. Watch a video of this panel discussion on YouTube

Special Note: These lectures were given through the financial assistance of Jane Sharp MacRae and are dedicated to her memory. Jane was a dedicated member of the League for more than 50 years. She was responsible for the League receiving two awards from the Governor for environmental work and education.

Feb. 1, 2013 Women's Health Fair

Brenda Rogers and Janet Hoy attended the Women's Health Fair at the Sheraton Imperial on 2/1/2013 and spoke to approximately 300 people, giving out literature about the League and telling them about our upcoming series on the Affordable Care Act. "It was lots of fun! We gave out dark chocolate candy hearts along with our literature," said Brenda. "No, we didn't register anyone to vote but that was encouraging--everyone was registered," she added.

Why is a comprehensive change to North Carolina's Health Insurance System Needed?

HOW HEALTH CARE REFORM WOULD HELP NC. A recent report by Families USA.

Un-insured. In 2013, 1.5 million North Carolinians lacked health insurance-- that is, 1 in every 5 citizens did not have coverage, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

A March 2009 report by the North Carolina Institute of Medicine suggests that due to the recent increases in unemployment since 2007, the number of uninsured in North Carolina is estimated to be at approximately 1.8 million.

Under-insured. Rising health care costs and slow wage growth has forced more Americans to join the ranks of the underinsured. For example: your insurer has excluded a pre-existing condition from your policy. Or maybe your deductibles and co-pays will become a financial burden that could lead to personal bankruptcy if you become seriously ill. Or, your lifetime policy benefit is too low and your share of costs will be enormously high if you have a catastrophic illness.

Lack of personal security. You should have the personal security knowing that whatever your employment status, age, income, or medical history or condition, you have health insurance. The United States is the only industrialized country that does not have a national health insurance plan that covers everyone. It is the only country where people go bankrupt trying to cover health care costs. It is the only country where people worry about how they will pay for unexpected health care costs.

Runaway premiums. In North Carolina alone, premiums grew 5.3 times faster than workers earnings between 2000 and 2007, according to Families USA's new report, Premiums vs. Paychecks see above). Annual health care premium cost increases far exceed cost-of-living increases. For family health coverage provided through the workplace in North Carolina, annual health insurance premiums in the 2000-2007 period rose from $6,649 to $11,618--an increase of $4,969, or 74.7 percent.

Between 2000 and 2007, the median earnings of North Carolina's workers increased from $23,080 to $26,316--an increase of $3,236, or 14.0 percent.

Rising deductibles and co-payments. Even as premiums rise dramatically, we are paying more and more out of pocket for the same health care services.

Employer squeeze. Employers are put in a tough position of having to balance profits and employee health care needs. They increasingly face the task of choosing among insurers and millions of policy plans. Most recently employers have found it less expensive to fly workers to foreign countries for medical procedures. North Carolina has experienced an especially large decline in the percent of residents who received health care insurance from their employers.

Emergency room closures. Today, every North Carolinian, insured or not, facing an emergency, has to cope with hours of emergency room wait. This is because emergency rooms have become the last resort for the uninsured. Increasingly emergency rooms are providing so much uncompensated care that they have had to close their doors.

Lack of choice of providers. For many North Carolinians their choice of health care providers increasingly has become severely limited by insurance companies. Often, especially in rural areas, they are unable to find a provider near where they live.

Poorer benefits. Many insurance companies have limited benefits. For example, dental, vision and many parts of mental health care are often non-existent or inadequate.

Inefficiency and confusion. We have thousands of insurance companies and tens of thousands of insurance plans. It is confusing for patients, providers, employers and it is very inefficient. Too many health care dollars + nearly 30% - are spent on tedious administrative costs, marketing, and profit instead of on direct health care services.

Poorer medical outcomes. The United States spends twice as much money for health care per capita than the most advanced industrial countries and has the worst population-based health care outcomes in the industrialized world. For example, our life expectancy is the lowest in the industrialized world. To a large extent, this is because there are no system-wide standards of care or standards for reporting and investigating errors. It is estimated that over 700,000 Americans die each year from preventable medical errors in hospitals. Clinical and administrative waste is a big problem in our health care system.

Health Care Reform