NCM4A Advances Medicare for All Demand with Human Rights Day-Related ‘Bill Burns’

N.C. Healthcare coalition plans multiple public events to reassert healthcare as a human right.

Our communities have an urgent need for healthcare relief and the North Carolina Medicare for All (NCM4A) coalition believes it's necessary to mobilize now to achieve the health justice we desperately need. As some of us are forced to make hard choices about the coverage we can afford during open enrollment, too many others remain totally locked out. We believe we all deserve better than a corrupt, profit-driven health system and an administration that seeks to uphold the status quo.

This moment in history demands systemic change. Expanded and Improved Medicare for All, a single-payer healthcare system, is within our grasp. To work toward this end, NCM4A will hold public events to reassert healthcare as a human right and mark International Human Rights Day. On December 12, the coalition plans 'NC Bill Burn' events in Asheville, Durham, and Charlotte, which will observe COVID-19 safety precautions.

The Durham Bill Burn event will be held from 4:30pm-6:00pm at SEEDS (706 Gilbert St, Durham, NC 27701), where we will invite people to share their story about struggling with medical bills and symbolically burn their paper bills in a community- and power-building event. The group will encourage donations to local mutual aid groups, including Bull City Mutual Aid and the Fed Up food distribution program led by NC Raise Up and NC Poor People’s Campaign. Click on the link to find info on the Charlotte Bill Burn (12/10 at 6pm) and the Asheville Bill Burn (12/10 at 6:30pm).

(We recommend these guidelines to stay safe when participating in this event:

Leading up to the Bill Burn events, the NC Medicare for All Coalition will also be co-hosting an Emergency Press Conference on Thursday, December 10 in front of the N.C. General Assembly to address the worsening COVID-19 crisis and advance demands for Medicare for All, as well as health and safety protections and union rights for essential workers.

The surging global pandemic is compounding the existing healthcare disparities in North Carolina and beyond. We will not stand idly by while our country’s unaffordable private health insurance system degrades and bankrupts people and their families. Americans owed $88 billion in medical debt in 2018, and nearly half (45%) of people surveyed said they feared a medical event would bankrupt them. More than 45,000 Americans die annually because they cannot afford healthcare. Around 90 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured, while millions of people with employer-based health insurance are burdened by ever-increasing premiums, deductibles, and co-payments, often making their coverage too expensive to use. 

Despite the fear-mongering, we believe Medicare for All represents true freedom -- to change jobs, start a business, ensure the health of loved ones, and live a life free from medical debt. In this critical moment at the dawn of the Biden-Harris administration, the North Carolina Medicare for All Coalition won’t relent until the dignity of every individual is recognized by providing truly universal healthcare through Improved Medicare for All.

COVID Precautions: The hosts at this bill burn bonfire will enforce Covid-safety precautions, including masks worn by all individuals (including when speaking) and the number of guests around the fire will be restricted to ensure social distancing guidelines, with markers on the ground to serve as a guide. Extra masks and sanitizer will be available for guests. We are encouraging people to drop-in to the event to share their story and some time around the fire, then rotate out to allow more people to join.

About the NCM4A Coalition: Comprised of more than 30 organizations and grassroots groups in North Carolina, the NC Medicare for All Coalition is uniting people across the state to pass comprehensive, single-payer, improved Medicare for All. We are mobilizing North Carolinians and pressuring our representatives to ensure that all our communities have equitable access to quality healthcare.