Legislation contains 13 posts

Supporting women’s health care

I’m heading to Charlotte tomorrow with my friend Sarah Skinner. Sarah and I have a lot in common — we’re a couple of old hippies who think access to health care is the most important issue of the day. We have been to Washington, DC, together four times, and now we will take the issue [...]

Once again, NC falls short on mental health care

I moved to North Carolina almost 11 years ago to take a job as health reporter for the Citizen-Times. Soon afterward, I began covering mental health “reform,” which pretty much involved the implosion of a system that had been working OK. Even before the new system went live it was easy to see where it [...]

“Death panel” claim rears its ugly head again

Two years ago, Sarah Palin tried to convince us that a provision in the Affordable Care Act was effectively a “death panel.” The provision actually allowed physicians to bill Medicare for time spent talking to patients about an end-of-life plan, something every adult should have. But they managed to get the provision rescinded from the [...]

Truly horrifying ideas

The state legislature in Tennessee has passed a bill that makes me want to avoid even driving through the state. When I first read it, I thought it was a bad joke. The bill would make any miscarriage a potential crime. It hasn’t been signed by the governor yet, and there’s no word as to [...]

H115 still alive, but not passed

I drove to Raleigh yesterday to testify against NC House Bill 115, which would give effective control of the state’s health insurance exchange to insurance companies and their allies. When I got there, it looked as though those of us against the bill wouldn’t be allowed to testify, but in the end, a dozen of [...]

Trying to speak truth to power

I’m in Raleigh today to attempt to speak before the legislature before they pass this  bill giving power of the health benefits exchange to the insurance companies. I don’t know what the logic is, aside from a system of you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours. The legislators who were elected to mind the interests of the people they represent are [...]

Asking for specifics

We had an hourlong conversation with U.S. Rep. John Barrow, Democrat, of Georgia’s 12th District. I was on speakerphone, but Rep. Barrow was in his Savannah office with Janet, Danny and Christian, who had Shannon on speakerphone. It was a good conversation, and he offered us specifics and reasons for his views. I don’t think [...]

California considers state-wide medical coverage

California may be the next state to offer health care to all of its residents. Their state assembly recently passed SB 840, a bill that will offer Californians health care through a single-payer system. SB 840 still needs to go for a final vote on the state assembly floor and needs to withstand a likely [...]

More Americans have insurance now

A recent article from NPR’s All Things Considered reports that the number of Americans with health insurance went up this year. According to a recent Census Bureau study, in 2006, 47 million didn’t have insurance; only 45.7 million didn’t have coverage in 2007. The 1.3 million who now have coverage are mostly children under Medicaid [...]

One in three uninsured people have a chronic illness

According to a study from The Annals of Internal Medicine, out of 36 million people without health insurance, 11 million have been diagnosed with a chronic illness. How many more suffer with chronic disease that don’t know because they haven’t even been able to get to a doctor to get diagnosed? How much more will [...]

Visit our new web site

It's official! We are WNC Health Advocates.
Please visit our new web site, Visit WNC Health Advocates
The new name reflects what we do -- advocate for health care for everyone and help people access and navigate our current health care system.
While we still hold onto the memory and the generous spirit of Mike Danforth, we need people to be able to see our name and understand who we are.

Help Life o’ Mike

We need your help now more than ever. Your tax-deductible donation will help us get Patient Pals and Family Friends to more people in need of peer support. Please consider a gift in honor or in memory of a loved one.
Donate here or mail your donation to Life o' Mike, PO Box 1213, Asheville, NC 28802.

Patient Pals & Family Friends

Life o' Mike has a peer support program for people with one or more serious or chronic medical issues or disabilities.

We aim to reduce isolation and fear among people who have conditions, including psychiatric illness, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, mild dementia or other cognitive disorder or disability, thereby reducing depression and complications as people learn to improve self-management of their medical conditions.

Patient Pals help alleviate feelings of isolation and frustration. They can help people develop a list of questions to ask the doctor and then accompany the person to the doctor to make sure all the questions are answered, taking notes to be sure the person understands the doctor’s answers.

Our trained volunteers also accompany their “Pals” to art exhibits, movies and walks outdoors, meet for coffee, call to check in and more.

Our Pals have experienced weight loss, improvement in diabetes, HIV, psoriasis, depression and more, just because they have someone who cares about them. Some relationships develop into longer-term friendships; other Pals move on to more independent lives.

Family Friends are there to help caregivers and other family members grow into their new role.

We need volunteers, who are asked to donate a minimum of one hour a week. Training is free and includes information on active listening, ways to help and when to know more help is needed.

And of course, we need funding.

To learn more, call Leslie Boyd at 828-243-6712 or e-mail lifeomike@gmail.com.

Life o’ Mike honors Joe Eblen

Life o' Mike presented its first Michael T. Danforth Community Service Award to Joe Eblen at a luncheon on June 8, in the Friendship Hall of First Congregational Church, 20 Oak St., Asheville.
Joe, seen here with Leslie Boyd, left, and his wife, Bobbie, has spent his life helping children and families, both as a coach and game official for more than 60 years, and as founder of Eblen Charities.

Start From Seed

Life o' Mike has a new program- Start from Seed (SFS).
SFS is a volunteer doula program aimed at providing non-medical, comprehensive support to low income, high-risk women and families of Buncombe County focusing on three areas:

1. We help new doulas with certification and training in return for their participation as a volunteer doula for SFS

2. We mentor volunteer doulas with their first few clients

3. Our volunteer doulas provide birth and postpartum doula services to low income, high risk moms, providing support and tools to empower them as a new parent.

A birth doula is a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; a postpartum doula provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.

Start from Seed clients are referred to us from the Buncombe County Department of Health’s Nurse-Family Partnership Program, Western North Carolina Community Health Services, and Mission Hospital. The Program is intended and designed for growing clients’ inner strength and helping them gain empowerment to help them cope with the emotional, physical and mental challenges of childbirth, labor, and motherhood.

Our new moms and their infants have many needs. If you would like to help them get off to a good start, please visit our Start from Seed web site: Start from Seed, or call Program Director Chelsea Kouns at 804-814-9946.

Events in the community

Free birth and labor classes

Peaceful Beginning Doula Services holds free birth forums, Peaceful Birth, 6:30-8 p.m. the last Thursday of every month (except November) at Spa Materna, 640 Merrimon Ave., above The Hop, in Asheville.
All are welcome, expectant women and their partners are encouraged to attend anytime during their pregnancy. We also encourage doulas and other maternal/child professionals to attend and share in the discussions. The forums are "birth circle" style, focusing on normal birth which follows the Lamaze Six Care Practices for Healthy Birth. The forums are led by certified and experienced educators.

NAMI Family-to-Family Class

NAMI of Western Carolina holds 12-week classes for families and caregivers of individuals with a severe mental illness 6-8:30 p.m. Mondays at Charles George VA Medical Center, 1100 Tunnel Road in Asheville. The course covers major mental illnesses and self-care. Registration required. Info at 828-299-9596 or rohaus@charter.net.

Contact your representatives

Ask them what they're doing to fix health care!

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