Point and Counterpoint: Health Care 

Though Far From Perfect, ACA Is a Good Starting Point

On a regular basis, the Pilot dedicates space on it’s Opinion page to feature “dueling” commentary from Darlene Dunham, President of the Democratic Women of Moore County, and John Rowerdink, former Chair of the Moore County Republican Party.  The following appeared in the August 16th edition:

The author, president of the Moore County Democratic Women, lives in Southern Pines.

By Darlene Dunham, Special to The Pilot

Before passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), too many people simply went without medical care, declared bankruptcy because of huge medical bills, or utilized expensive emergency rooms for routine health care problems. And not enough younger, healthier Americans purchased insurance to help spread the risk.

Obamacare solved some of these problems, but not all. There were successes, especially in the early years. Overall, insurance companies were making a profit, emergency room visits were down, and many young adults, up to the age of 26, were able to remain on their parents’ policies.

And in the state of New York, where the ACA has been fully embraced and managed as it was designed, the uninsured today make up just a tiny fraction of the population, a bit over 5 percent.

The ACA may well have been a better product if the Republicans had chosen to engage in the crafting of it. But since they declined — and immediately starting attacking it — we’re now faced with a conundrum.

Americans have clearly demonstrated they want the ACA. And they want their leaders to figure out how to fix it. Yet how do those Congress members, committed to killing a law they have detested for nearly a decade, suddenly find the energy and enthusiasm to help craft a better version?

And what of those on the other side, who fought so hard to keep the ACA from being repealed? How do they muster interest in working with those they believe do not have the heart or commitment to do the difficult and painstaking work of creating a better ACA?

First and foremost, Republicans need to figure out how to respectfully work across the aisle with the opposition party. The Democrats did the heavy lifting in giving America the ACA, and they fought hard to keep it. If the Republicans are truly interested in fixing it, they need to come to the table prepared to work with Democrats who are offering concrete solutions.

As many Democrats warned, Obamacare is not a problem-free answer to this country’s health care issues. Though there are some Dems who believe that if the president would cease threatening to withhold cost-sharing subsidies to insurers and enforce the rules regarding the purchase of insurance or payment of penalties, the law would work just fine.

Other Democratic leaders think there are parts of the ACA that do need some tinkering. Among their suggestions are higher subsidies and the addition of a “copper” option, beneath bronze in the list of plan choices. This plan would have cheaper premiums and higher deductibles and would be marketed to younger, healthier folks, encouraging them to purchase some form of basic health insurance.

In addition to the suggestions mentioned above about ways to strengthen and improve the ACA (there are dozens more that have been put forward by Democrats across the country) here are additional steps that I believe our lawmakers should seriously consider:

— Shore up the insurance markets. About 200 companies left the markets because the plans they offered provided almost no coverage and the ACA forbid the sale of them. Many of the states that had few choices in insurance providers before Obamacare still have few choices.

— Add a public option to the insurance markets. It would help drive down costs.

— Tell states to immediately expand Medicaid. This act alone will help stabilize hospitals, particularly rural health centers, which still have to provide care even when there is no avenue for reimbursement.

— Allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. It is ridiculous that the VA can bargain with drug companies but Medicare cannot.

While it may be a less-than-perfect vehicle, the ACA has been a much needed starting point in addressing a host of entrenched problems. Check out the Commonwealth Fund’s most recent performance rankings on health care systems worldwide. Of all the wealthy nations, the United States ranks dead last on most measures. It should be manifestly shameful to every American that the United States spends as much money as it does on health care and ranks this low.

Yet it is still a very useful document if we pay attention to what it is saying. Essentially it reports that we still have a considerable amount of work to do to repair our broken system. But it offers us enough successful models to study so that ultimately — if we create fixes in the existing law, continue and build upon those favorable outcomes now taking place under the ACA, and perhaps borrow from what has worked in other countries (the Netherlands has a successful model similar to Obamacare) — the United States could have a health care system that insures everyone and is second to none.

The ball is in your court, congressional Republicans. Will you cooperate with the Democrats to build a better ACA and a healthier America?

(To view this article, and Mr. Rowerdink’s opinion, click here)

Democratic Women Collect Supplies for Title I Schools

From , August 12, 2017

For the past four years, the DWMC has been collecting school supplies for Moore County teachers and students at their regular monthly meetings.  Over the years, the group has collected more than 11 boxes of supplies, which have been donated to Title I schools in Moore County (so designated because of the percent of students who receive free school lunches).

“The movement began, and continues to this day, as a way for the DWMC to show the collective esteem in which we hold the hard-working teachers of Moore County,” says a spokesman.

The self-appointed leader of this effort has been Tina Ganis, former president of DWMC, who has spent hours collecting the contributions from meetings, toting them to her garage, and then contacting the neediest schools to drop off supplies.

Recently, Ganis decided that that efforts should be expanded beyond the meetings, and is encouraging members to bring supplies directly to the schools.

So, with a cadre of dedicated volunteers, the group has supplied collection boxes to each of six schools throughout the county, including: Southern Pines Primary, Southern Pines Elementary, Aberdeen Primary, Aberdeen Elementary, Robbins Elementary and Vass-Lakeview. In addition, collection efforts will continue at regular DWMC monthly meetings.  Supplies can be dropped off at the above locations Monday through Thursday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

“Every worthwhile effort to benefit the community has at least one indefatigable champion, and Tina has been that for our Dem Women,” says Darlene Dunham, DWMC president. “And our Women have stepped up to provide tons of supplies. It isn’t enough for us to be content with encouraging community activism unless we are also willing to let our actions speak directly to our love of our community.”

Donald Trump’s Presidency Has Inspired 11,000 Women To Run For Office From

“Over ten thousand women isn’t a ripple — it’s a wave,” Emily’s List president Stephanie Schriock said.

Emily’s List has seen an “unprecedented” amount of women interested in running for political office, the group’s president Stephanie Schriock told The Washington Post on Friday for a story about Democrats challenging Republicans in traditionally red districts during the midterm elections.

“During the 2016 cycle, her group spoke with about 900 women interested in running for school board, state legislature or Congress,” WaPo’s Ed O’Keefe and Mike DeBonis wrote. “This year, they’ve heard from more than 11,000 women in all 50 states — with a few dozen seriously considering House races, she said.”

In December, The Huffington Post’s Emma Gray reported that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s loss in the 2016 presidential election had motivated women across the country to get more involved with the political process.  Read more …

 

From the Pilot’s Opinion Page, July 12, 2017

What Our Parties Stand For, featuring opinions by Darlene Dunham, President of the Democratic Women of Moore County, and John Rowerdink, former Chair of the Moore County Republican Party

Democrats’ Core Values Keep Faith With the People Contributed by Darlene Dunham

The Democratic Party believes in government of the people, by the people and for the people. Everyone counts.

To that end, we champion universal, affordable health care. We believe it is a right, not a privilege — that all Americans deserve to see a doctor, and that treating illness before it becomes a catastrophe is both humane and economically sensible.

We believe in supporting public health and protecting our fragile environment. Democrats, like everyone else, want to drink clean water and breathe unpolluted air. The difference is that Democrats believe you have to require the “clean” and the “unpolluted.”

While many Americans persist in believing business will always do the right thing, that an unfettered market is the solution to all ills, this is simply not the case. History is rife with examples to the contrary. Duke Energy’s recent coal ash spill, the Exxon Valdez, and Love Canal come readily to mind.

The list goes on: pharmaceutical companies that market drugs with known, dangerous side effects, automakers that sell cars with harmful defects that are concealed from the public, banks that fleece their customers.

How many of us have the means or opportunity to take our medication to a lab for analysis, to have a car thoroughly examined for design defects? Democrats believe the government has a role in protecting us from these egregious types of abuse.

The Democratic Party advocates for fair elections. We believe districts must be drawn to enfranchise the largest number of people within logical boundaries, without encumbrances placed on the exercise of voting rights.

Democrats are aware that widespread voter fraud is a fictional problem used to justify the passage of voter suppression laws, and that those currently in office, who won in illegally drawn districts, are serving illegitimately and the laws they’ve passed are fraudulent.

Democrats believe America stays strong by remaining engaged with the rest of the world — that we will not thrive as a nation by selling our goods and products only to ourselves. Or that we can design trade agreements that benefit America but hurt other countries and not suffer any consequences. There is no room for isolationism in the modern world. We are inextricably linked to the global community, no matter how much some want to pretend otherwise.

Democrats do not believe that the world’s dictators and thuggish rulers have suddenly become our friends. Or that they have our best interests at heart. For over a century, America’s strength has been its leadership on the world stage. Our national security depends on our continuing in that role.

Democrats realize that if you abandon public education, you abandon the American dream. An uneducated populace will eventually breed polarization and instability. For most of our country’s recent history, public education has ensured that America has had a vibrant, stable middle class with good job prospects.

Public education helped prevent us from becoming a nation of have-nots, where a few haves controlled everything. Two of our neighbors to the south, El Salvador and Nicaragua, offered a deterrent example of what an uneducated populace, a tiny wealthy elite and an unethical strongman could wrought.

Lack of a basic education means people have fewer choices, and too often equates to lower wages, bleaker job prospects, and adverse health effects.

For us to truly be a “United” States, education must be funded through the government. And it must be a dynamic process, one that not only educates all of America’s students in the basics, so that what is understood to be fact in Maine is accepted in Montana as well, but also identifies the next generation of job opportunities and helps students prepare for them.

Other areas of public life also need government leadership and the requisite funding. Coal won’t come back, but coal miners need retraining. Manufacturing jobs are scarce, but the technology sector is booming. We need to invest in these workers and incentivize the companies that hire them. Our tax dollars can do this.

But these taxes must be fair. Democrats believe that it is immoral to cost-shift our collective civic encumbrance to those least able to pay. It is unfair to give huge tax breaks to the wealthy, while saddling the poor and middle class with a heavier proportion of the burden.

Democrats work to make life better for everyone. When entire groups of people are left out of our democratic process, we all suffer the consequences.

People of color, women, LGBT, the disabled, and immigrants all bring unique life experiences and perspectives to our political discourse. We craft better policies and laws when all voices are heard.

Among our accomplishments, Democrats led the race to the moon, gave us Medicare and Medicaid and the GI Bill. The Democratic Party’s core values, and promises delivered, have kept faith with “we, the people.”

 

(To view this article, and Mr. Rowerdink’s opinion, click here)

Letter from DWMC member, Lynn Hancock, featured on Pilot opinion page

Members of the Democratic Women of Moore County are concerned, vocal community members.  On June 28, the following letter appeared on the Pilot Newspaper’s Opinion page, authored by Lynn Hancock, currently the Secretary of the DWMC.

Health Bill Is Obscene

Fifty percent of all babies born in this country are delivered through Medicaid. About 65 percent of nursing home residents are supported by Medicaid, and over 10 million people qualify for Medicaid based on a disability.

About 2.4 million women, men and young people in the United States visit Planned Parenthood health centers in a single year. Approximately one in five women in the U.S. have visited a Planned Parenthood health center.

The Senate bill would cut Medicaid by over $800 billion, defund Planned Parenthood, and throw about 23 million Americans off health insurance. At the same time, the Senate bill would repeal taxes on corporations and cut taxes for the wealthy by about $592 billion.

So far, the bill is opposed by: AARP, the American Medical Association, American Hospital Association, Federation of American Hospitals, American Association of Pediatrics, American Lung Association, American College of Emergency Physicians, American Congress of Obstetrics & Gynecology, American Psychiatric Association, and Association of American Medical Colleges. Shouldn’t that tell us something?

This health care legislation is simply obscene. What sort of people in good conscience could give this bill serious consideration?

Currently, all members of Congress are required to participate in the Obamacare exchanges.

Many of them will tell you about that, but they neglect to mention that the exchange from which they choose their coverage offers 300 plans, and that the federal government (that would be us!) pays 72 percent of the premium.

Perhaps if all Americans had the same access to coverage at the same rates that are available to all members of Congress and their families, affordable health care access would be a reality for each of us.

Doesn’t every American deserve to have the same access to affordable health care that our representatives have? Why wouldn’t that be a great idea on which we could all agree?

Lynn Hancock, Pinehurst

 

Welcome to Democratic Women of Moore County

June 2017 Meeting


 


DWMC is an auxiliary group of the Democratic Party of Moore County. We average nearly 150 women members, and we are by far the most active sub-group of our county party. DWMC supports Democrats and Democratic causes at every level. We contribute time, energy and finances to our local and state party, and of course we support the national efforts of the Democratic Party.

Our meetings are intended to make Democratic Women more knowledgeable about the state of the world, and our monthly meetings bring in speakers who address critical issues. When elections are taking place we also invite candidates from throughout the county and the state to speak to us. Meetings are held nearly every month at the Pinehurst Village Hall on the second Saturday of the month at 9:30 AM.

A little of our history: The motto of the North Carolina Democratic Women is: “Women are the majority. We harness the power.”  The National Federation of Democratic Women was founded in 1971, and exists “in support of women’s voices”. In 1971, the Federation gained recognition from the Democratic National Committee as the official women’s organization and received a seat on the DNC Executive Committee and three seats on the DNC.

Fundraising, voter education and support for our candidates are good reasons to join our organization. But just as important to members is the fellowship and mutual support of women who take active roles in the political life and governance of North Carolina. As a result, we do more than just meet. DWMC grows important relationships among the women of our county who are committed to the principles of the Democratic Party. So, while our Saturday morning meetings aim to educate us on the issues, we are also a social group, evidenced by our new members’ brunch and our holiday party. Our members are always asking about ways to be more involved, so we’re all about ACTION as well!

If you are a Democratic woman living in Moore County and looking to make a difference in your community and would enjoy doing so alongside other women who share your values and beliefs, please consider joining us. With annual dues of just $25, we are not only a great bargain, but a strong, collective voice for Moore County Democratic women who are tired of standing alone and feel unheard. If we sound like the kind of group that you would like to be a part of, we welcome you to come check us out at an upcoming meeting!

Upcoming Democratic Women of Moore County Meetings


“Point and Counterpoint”: What Is the Media Role?

by John Rowerdink and Darlene Dunham

Uncensored News Remains Foundation of Democracy

Darlene R. Dunham, president of the Moore County Democratic Women, lives in Southern Pines.

 

Lately, it seems, the media are receiving as much critical attention, if not more, than the events and people they are reporting upon.

This is not a new phenomenon. Reporting the news has always been a hazardous occupation. Those who have delivered the news have frequently been on the receiving end of increased scrutiny, often cloaked in the ire of those who have not agreed with what was written or said. History is rife with examples.

Plutarch, in his “Lives,” is one of the earliest to illustrate a case of “shooting the messenger” when the news was not, in this case, to the liking of Tigranes of Armenia. He promptly cut off the head of the man delivering the unwelcome report.

READ DARLENE’S EDITORIAL IN THE PILOT

 

OFFICERS OF THE DWMC, 2017-18

Contact any of our Officers using the form at the bottom of this page

OFFICERS OF THE

DEMOCRATIC WOMEN OF MOORE COUNTY

Darlene Dunham

President

Diane Anello

1st Vice President/Programs

Sandy Waterkotte

2nd Vice President/Communications

Kerry Arnold

Treasurer

Betty Barnett

Asst. Treasurer/Membership

Lynn Hancock

Recording Secretary

Paula Shelton

Corresponding Secretary

Contact Us


Optional: Please use the section below to help us learn a bit more about you including your interest in working with the Moore County Democratic Party, your availability, and ideas for new projects that you think would benefit others in the county.