NCM4A Observes International Human Rights Day as North Carolinians Struggle Without Care

NCM4A Observes International Human Rights Day as North Carolinians Struggle Without Care

Citing popular support for universal healthcare and NC’s high uninsured rate, the newly formed healthcare coalition plans actions around International Human Rights Day

Our state is in the midst of a dire healthcare crisis. The surging COVID-19 pandemic is compounding the existing healthcare disparities in North Carolina and beyond. NCM4A (the North Carolina Medicare for All coalition), a statewide organization representing dozens of member organizations and thousands of supporters, will hold public events to mark International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2022, and address the continuing health care crisis millions face in North Carolina.

Events include:

  • Thursday, December 10, 10:30 a.m. press conference outside the N.C. General Assembly (16 W. Jones St., Raleigh).
    • Speakers include Jonathan Michaels, healthcare professional; Rohima Miah, mental health care professional; Christine Pernell, NC Council of Churches; Faisal Khan, Carolina Peace Center; Lurika Wynn, National Domestic Workers Alliance; James Moore, Durham DSA
  • December 12 “Bill Burn” Community Bonfires in Asheville, Durham, and Charlotte, which will observe Covid-19 safety precautions. Check for detailed info on these gatherings.

Speakers will address the difficulties they and their patients face accessing healthcare in the U.S. Lack of healthcare access is a direct violation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that: "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including...medical care and necessary social services.”

Dominic Harris, a util­i­ty tech­ni­cian and pres­i­dent of the Char­lotte City Work­ers Union, chapter of UE Local 150, said, “While COVID-19 is causing pay cuts and job losses, insurance companies are making billions off of our pain and suffering. Medicare for All is a cheaper and better way of doing insurance in America.”

As we observe the right of every human being to medical care without prohibitive costs or overwhelming debt, we call attention to the more than 45,000 Americans who die annually because they cannot afford healthcare. In addition to nearly 90 million uninsured Americans, millions of people with health insurance find that their coverage is too expensive to use. Americans owed $88 billion in medical debt in 2018, and medical bills are the leading cause of personal bankruptcy despite the Affordable Care Act.

In North Carolina alone, an estimated 257,000 residents lost their health insurance and jobs during the first six months of the Covid-19 pandemic. With more than 1.1 million N.C. residents already uninsured at the start of the pandemic, Covid-related job losses increased our state’s uninsured rate to 20 percent for people under age 65. People of color are disproportionately impacted, accounting for 54 percent of North Carolina’s uninsured while making up only 37 percent of the population.

Fortunately, Improved Medicare for All is a comprehensive solution and studies show it will cost less in the long term. Medicare for All is also a winning issue. In poll after poll, the majority of Americans have declared their preference for a universal, government-administered healthcare system. A 2020 Morning Consult poll pegs support for Medicare for All at 55 percent of voters nationally, while a 2020 Fox News exit poll found support as high as 72 percent of all voters.

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. 

Join us at our live press conference December 10 in Raleigh and at the Bill Burn Bonfires in Asheville, Charlotte, and Durham on Dec 12 to listen to speakers and take collective action.