Reform Myths and Facts

Myth:

Health care reform is a government takeover of our system. It’s socialist.

Fact:

The government is not taking over the system. Private companies still will sell insurance and you will choose which company will insure you. The companies will have more restrictions. For example, they all must cover wellness care and they can’t throw you off their rolls if you get sick.

Myth:

Doctors will decide whether patients get care through “death panels.”

Fact:

If you have Medicare and wish to talk to your doctor about end-of-life care — your wishes about what you want should you become unable to express your wishes — your doctor would have been paid for his or her time. The rule went into effect Jan. 1, but it was rescinded Jan. 5 becuse of lies about it being a death panel. Everyone needs to have this conversation. Everyone. It is not a doctor telling a patient how he or she will die; it is a patient learning how to express his or her wishes about what care they want at the end of life. End-of-life care often is highly technical, usually painful and always the most expensive type of care we ever will get. We have learned to extend life, but not quality of life, and some of the technology only delays the inevitable by a few days, perhaps weeks. If Grandma has this conversation with loved ones, makes a living will and appoints a health care proxy (everything you need is at www.fivewishes.org), no one will pull the plug on her unless she has asked that it be done. The real death panels are in places like Arizona, where people who were on the list for lifesaving organ transplants are being told they can’t have them. These people are being told how they will die (organ failure) and when (soon).

Myth:

We can’t afford to give everyone health care.

Fact:

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the law will raise the cost of health care by about $940 billion over the next 10 years, but it will reduce the deficit by even more than that because of new taxes, fees on industries involved in health care, and cuts in projected spending growth for existing government health efforts, primarily Medicare. People who get regular checkups and management of chronic illnesses cost a lot less than the crisis care they get now, so much of the savings will be realized by the prevention of needless suffering. Sort of a win-win.

Myth:

Because of waste, fraud and abuse, Medicare is far less efficient that private insurance.

Fact:

Medicare spends 97 percent of the money it gets on services; private insurance companies had to be told in the new law that they must spend at least 80 percent. Medicare doesn’t spend money on multi-million dollar bonuses or advertising and public relations.

Myth:

 Most Americans want the law repealed.

Fact:

Americans are pretty divided about whether the law should stand. Much depends on where they get their information about the law. People who believe the myths about the law are more likely to say it should be repealed. It’s difficult to get the truth out there because of the media’s belief that they need to tell “both sides”, which means they repeat the lies as though they were valid and people believe them.

 

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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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