About 55 residents from Jackson County peacefully assembled last night (Sept. 2) at the county’s historic courthouse on main street Sylva to urge Congress to reform the nation’s current healthcare system.
The residents held a vigil to honor those who they said are suffering under the current health care system and to show that North Carolina cannot afford to wait for health care payer reform. Candles were lit, and the participants shared the names and stories of those close to them suffering under the current health care system to show the desperate need for a real health care payer reform.
The vigil was part of 300 held nationwide last night that were organized by the MoveOn.org political organization.
Allen Lomax, a Sylva resident who helped to coordinate the event and is a Move On member, said at the vigil a health care payer plan must be R.E.A.L.: Ready right away, cover Everyone, Accountable to the public and Large enough to contain costs.
“As the names and stories shared here today show, North Carolina cannot afford to wait for a real health care payer reform. Everyday that we wait to pass health care payer reform, more North Carolinians are denied life-saving medical treatment, dropped from their insurance coverage, or buried under medical bills,” said Lomax. “We are calling on Congress to pass the health care payer reform we need as soon as they return to Washington. The longer we wait, the more people suffer.”
Martha Yonce, a speaker at the vigil from Franklin in Macon County, was one of ten people who shared their personal stories to those in attendance.
“I was diagnosed with cancer in 2000 and my husband and I was told we had a good insurance program, but that year we had to pay $80,000 out of pocket and it almost bankrupt us,” said Yonce. “I felt that everyone in Jackson County should know that even if they have insurance, catastrophic things can happen.”
Marsha Crites, a MoveOn member, added “There is no substitute for a real public health insurance option, a real public health insurance option is the best way to cut skyrocketing health care costs, and no matter what happens with our health or jobs, it will always be there for us.”
A peaceful demonstration in opposition to the vigil was held across the street from the Jackson County GOP.
Jim Mueller, the second vice chair of the organization and a resident of Glenville in southern Jackson County said, “What bothers me is when you have a nationwide healthcare system like the one in Canada, its overused. The healthcare program in the U.S. should be helping people that need it, don’t fix something that’s not broke.”