It's the babies, stupid: Collapse of rural health care endangers lives

No county should be without a maternity unit:

In the rural Appalachian county, where winters are harsh and narrow dirt roads make driving difficult even when the weather is clear, the maternity unit at Angel Medical Center was an important asset. But then in July 2017, Mission Health, which owns the hospital, closed the unit for financial reasons, leaving women in the community without an in-county option for childbirth.

The closure forces women to travel 20 miles south over a mountain to Harris Regional Hospital in neighboring Jackson County, or even to Asheville, an almost 70 mile trek northeast, to give birth. In some cases, women may even have to venture as far as Charlotte, more than 180 miles away, Garrett said.

It has been mentioned before, but it can be extremely frustrating trying to advocate for rural healthcare when many of your readers hail from the Triangle, Triad, or Queen City regions. And it doesn't help when faux-Libertarians seem to be more concerned about overturning Certificate of Need regulations than expanding coverage to areas that are medical deserts. And of course those same "advocates" are relentlessly attacking Medicaid Expansion, which is very likely the only lifeline for rural healthcare available. The hypocrisy is mind-numbing.

Monday News: Here they come...

DEM PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES HEADING TO NC BEFORE SUPER TUESDAY: Sanders will take part in a 7 p.m. interfaith Ash Wednesday service and forum at Greenleaf Christian Church. Doors for the event will open at 6 p.m. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar will make her first campaign stop in North Carolina on Thursday to hold a town hall-style meeting in Cary that will be televised on Fox News. Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg bookends rallies he held across the state on the first day of early voting with a stop in Charlotte on Feb. 29, the last day of early voting in North Carolina. Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., returns to the state for a get-out-the-vote rally in Raleigh on March 1, two days before the Super Tuesday primary. Not to be outdone, President Donald Trump will hold a rally in Charlotte on March 2, the eve of the primary.
https://www.wral.com/super-tuesday-primary-bringing-presidential-candidates-to-nc/18969087/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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SILENT SAM'S RESTING PLACE? AWAY FROM UNC WITH OPEN, TRANSPARENT PROCESS: It was a remarkable scheme that Ripley Rand, the outside lawyer hired by the UNC Board of Governors, worked to move through the courts to get Silent Sam in the hands of the North Carolina Chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. We remain astonished that UNC System President Bill Roper would go along with it. And even more remarkable that University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill officials signed it. The plan that the Board came up with and initiated lacked ANY open scrutiny or public discussion. The deal was deservedly met with outrage and civil protest. Silent Sam has no place on the UNC campus – that is the only consensus that has emerged from the Board of Governor’s efforts. The Board of Governors needs to focus on its responsibilities and duties. Leave the disposition of Silent Sam to the folks on the Chapel Hill campus.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-silent-sam-s-resting-place-away-from-unc-with-open-transparent-proces...

Saturday News: Go get 'em, Roy

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SUPERMAJORITY OF VOTERS SUPPORT COOPER'S BUDGET VETO AND MEDICAID EXPANSION: Almost three-quarters of those polled said they would prefer school funding be increased rather than taxes cut, and a majority called for expanding Medicaid coverage to more of the state's working poor, according to the exclusive poll by SurveyUSA. SurveyUSA polled 2760 adults statewide between Feb. 13 and Sunday in the scientific survey, producing a credibility interval in the results of plus or minus 2.1 to 2.6 percent. Given a choice between providing more money for public schools or cutting business taxes to boost the economy, 71 percent of respondents said school funding was more important. Fewer than one-fifth said tax cuts should be the budget priority, while 9 percent said they weren't sure. Support for Cooper's stance cut across all demographics in the poll. Even more than three in five of Republicans questioned and a majority of those who identify themselves as conservative ranked funding schools ahead of cutting taxes in the budget debate.
https://www.wral.com/wral-news-poll-nc-residents-back-cooper-s-positions-in-state-budget-debate/1896...

Wake Forest President apologizes for its treatment of slaves

Pay close attention, UNC Chapel Hill:

“I apologize for the exploitation and use of enslaved people — both those known and unknown — who helped create and build this university through no choice of their own,” he said.

“Our founder and all of the antebellum presidents owned enslaved people,” Hatch said, adding that many trustees were slaveholders and that students too “perpetuated slavery.” He said that slaves helped build and maintain the college and that as many as 16 slaves were sold to the benefit of Wake Forest.

This is an especially important step for Wake Forest to take, since the last few years have seen an uptick in White Supremacist harassment of faculty and students. Most of that has been via e-mail, but that doesn't equate to "harmless." It's just a different medium. This apology is only a part of Wake Forest's commitment for racial equity:

Friday News: GOP meddling continues

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REPUBLICAN PAC HAS SPENT $3 MILLION IN DEM SENATE PRIMARY: A group with Republican ties is out with another television ad promoting Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Erica Smith’s progressive credentials and hitting Democratic front-runner Cal Cunningham from the left on guns and gay rights issues. The Faith and Power PAC, which has not disclosed its donors but has several ties to Republicans, spent about $500,000 on the 30-second ad. The Super PAC has spent nearly $3 million in the race, most of it touting Smith, who has struggled to raise funds on her own, according to campaign finance reports. “What we’re concerned about is that people are sending a message that I can’t be trusted because I’m working with Republicans,” Smith said in a phone interview Tuesday. “That’s so far from the truth of what this is. I have no dealings with this Super PAC. I have denounced their interference in this primary. Once again, these underhanded tactics are being played to undermine the democratic process and voters should be outraged.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article240466296.html

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