23.1% of WNC is Uninsured



Nate Silver over at 538 posted this information:

“Throughout last year, Gallup included a module on health and well being in their standard tracking surveys. This meant they had tens of thousands of interviews between all 435 Congressional Districts. One of the questions on the well-being module was about whether or not people had health insurance.”

The population of NC’s 11th Congressional District was estimated to be 651,897 in 2005. With 23.1% of them uninsured, we’ve got over 150,000 of our people at risk.

In his appropriations requests, Congressman Heath Shuler outlined the value of rural health care in this $478,652 request for a not-for-profit medical center in Macon County and a $500,000 request for another not-for-profit medical center in Asheville:

“Maintaining quality medical facilities in the rural counties of Western North Carolina helps protect the public safety, health and well being of the citizens of these communities, and promoting effective preventative treatments ultimately saves taxpayer dollars by easing the burden on emergency rooms and Medicare.”

In the health care area at his website, Congressman Shuler has more to say regarding his commitment to addressing our neediest citizens:

“Medicare has proven to be an effective method of improving the health care for our senior citizens. Now, we must continue building on its legacy of success to ensure it continues to meet our needs in the 21st Century, while remaining financially stable.”
“We have a solemn obligation to help care for the least among us.”

Congressman Shuler’s signature on the Blue Dog letter to the House Leadership signifies his initial stance against a public option in a sweeping health care reform. Drawing conclusions from Shuler’s appropriations requests, his acknowledgement of Medicare’s success, his understanding that uninsured people overutilize emergency room services, his history of moving to the left once the pressure rises, and his doubtlessly heartfelt beliefs about aiding the 150,000 of his constituents without any health insurance, I’m hopeful that Heath will get behind an eventual bill containing a strong public option.

He’ll need your help to get there.  Call today and ask Congressman Shuler to provide a public option for the 23.1% of his uninsured constituents as well as the thousands of us who would like to have a public choice.  It will take you two minutes, and it could wind up making all the difference.



  1. Andrew says:

    23.1 — that all?

  2. Paul C says:

    Join the Facebook group: HEATH CARES! Congressman Shuler Please Support a STRONG PUBLIC OPTION!


  3. randallt says:

    I appreciate your optimism Gordon and have been having the same discussion here lately. Calling, e-mailing and old fashion letter writing IS key here.

  4. Tim Peck says:

    It’s Not An Option

    What wasn’t known until now is that the bill itself will kill the market for private individual coverage by not letting any new policies be written after the public option becomes law. . . What wasn’t known until now is that the bill itself will kill the market for private individual coverage by not letting any new policies be written after the public option becomes law.

  5. Gordon Smith says:

    All that killing, Tim! Who knew that health care could be so lethal?

  6. Gordon Smith says:


    Escalating health care costs will have caused 230,990 North Carolinians to lose their health coverage between January 2008 and December 2010, or about 1,480 people, on average, every week, according to a new report released Wednesday by consumer health organization Families USA.
    “Clearly, health care costs are out of control, and these costs are making health coverage increasingly unaffordable,” Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, said in a statement. “This report spotlights the number of people who are losing coverage in the absence of health care reform.

    The group said although the economic downturn is contributing to the problem, it is premiums, which have risen 119 percent from 1999-2008, that have the biggest impact on family and employer health care costs.

    Higher costs have caused employers to impose higher premiums or copayments, offer plans that cover fewer benefits, or not to offer health coverage, according to the group.

    Claudia Muse, executive director of the WNC Health Coalition, which represents self-insured businesses in the region, said she is seeing many small employers in Asheville and Western North Carolina changing the coverage they offer employees, shifting more responsibility to patients, or dropping coverage altogether.

    “That’s not going to do any good,” Muse said. “It’s going to cost more in the long-run.”