WHAT IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE COVID-19,
BUT DON’T HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE?
By Cash Michaels
The story that is everyone’s worst nightmare.
On March 18th, a 17-year-old teen in Los Angeles County, Ca., suffering from respiratory problems, went to a nearby urgent care center for treatment. But because the young man did not have health insurance, he was refused, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Instead, he was sent to a nearby hospital, where the teen later died.
The Los Angeles County Health Department initially reported that the teen died as a result of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), but later backtracked, saying more confirmation was needed.
Still, whether the boy had COVID-19 or not, the fact remains, the first place of healing he rushed to rejected him because he was uninsured.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of 2018, 30.1 million Americans under the age of 65 do not have health insurance. Before the COVID-19 crisis, that fact was considered unacceptable.
But now, in the midst of one of the deadliest pandemics in human history, especially for poor communities of color, that fact could be life-threatening.
Here in North Carolina, just over one million had no health insurance per the latest figures from 2018, according to the U.S. Census.
So what should anyone who suspects they or a loved one has COVID-19 do if it becomes clear they need medical attention, and do not have health insurance?
According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, “Call your nearest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). If you feel you may have COVID-19, be sure to disclose that when you call to obtain an appointment. FQHCs are community-based health care providers that receive federal funds to provide needed health services in communities across the state.”
Go to https://www.ncchca.org/health-centers/find-a-health-center/ to locate the FQHC in your area.
“If you are not able to be seen at an FQCH, call your local health department (https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/county-health-departments). Free and charitable clinics may also be able to provide assistance. A map of these resources, including contact information, is provided by the Office of Rural Health.
If you are having a medical emergency, call 911 or call ahead then go to the Emergency Room. https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina/testing-and#individuals-without-health-insurance,-who-are-not-feeling-well,-should.
For people who think they might have COVID-19 and have mild symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends they stay home and call their doctor if you need medical advice. Most people who get COVID-19 will have mild illness and recover at home. NCDHHS has developed a fact sheet to help North Carolinians know what to do if they are sick. Share the Fact Sheet (https://files.nc.gov/ncdhhs/documents/files/covid-19/C19-PatientGuidance-3.23.20-FINAL--003-.pdf).
4TH CIRCUIT APPELLATE COURT
GRANTS NC LEGISLATIVE MOTION
IN VOTER ID CASE
By Cash Michaels
On March 27th, by a 2-1 decision, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a motion by North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore, and NC Senate President pro Tem Phillip Berger to intervene in a lawsuit brought by the NC NAACP and six local NAACP branches against members of the State Board of Elections, alleging that the 2018 voter photo identification law, passed by the Republican-led NC General Assembly in 2018, was “racially discriminatory in it’s intent.”
“The order allows the Speaker of the House [Moore] and the Senate Leader [Berger] to intervene in the litigation as defendants,” said atty. Irving Joyner, chair of the NC NAACP Legal Redress Committee.
“As such, they are able to fully participate in future proceedings along with [state Attorney Josh Stein on behalf of the Legislature. This will probably result in some delays in the proceedings.”
“As it stands now,” atty Joyner continued, “…the trial of this matter in on the [Middle] District Court Schedule for January 2021.’
Will the NC NAACP appeal the U.S. Fourth Circuit order. Atty. Joyner says that decision “is on our agenda.”
It was December 31, 2019 when Federal Judge Loretta Biggs informed the NC NAACP that she was granting a preliminary injunction against the 2018 voter ID law passed by the state legislature, thus disallowing it to be used during the March 3rd, 2020 primaries.
A few days later, her order was released, citing “racially discriminatory intent” in the passage of Senate Bill 824. State Attorney General Stein, on behalf of the NC Board of Elections, indicated that he would appeal Judge Biggs’ ruling for trial, but would allow the injunction to stand for the primaries as to not cause confusion with early voting and absentee balloting slated to begin shortly.
But Republican legislative leaders, who were originally not allowed to intervene, or become defendants in the lawsuit, persisted in demanding that they be considered.
They failed to do so before the March 3rd primaries, but now will most likely be included as defendants for the January 2021 federal court. That means, however, that voter ID still will not be allowed for the November 3rd general elections.
Ironically, on March 26th - the day before the Fourth Circuit order came down - the conservative pro voter ID group, the Voter Integrity Project NC, Inc. - filed a “memorandum in support of motion to intervene” in federal court, also seeking to become a defendant to fight against the NC NAACP lawsuit.
No ruling was made on that motion by press time.
STATE NEWS BRIEFS FOR APRIL 2, 2020
DURHAM REP. MARYANN BLACK, 76, DIES
[DURHAM] She was a longtime Durham County commissioner and social worker, well respected and regarded both in her community, and in the state legislature, where she was appointed to serve in 2017. Rep. MaryAnn Black, 76, died last week. Reportedly she was being treated for cancer. NC Democratic Party Chair Wayne Goodwin said of Rep. Black, “She proudly served her local community long before joining the General Assembly and was committed to improving the lives of all North Carolinians – from raising wages to advocating for environmental justice to addressing the opioid epidemic.”
SEN. BURR’S STOCK TRANSACTIONS BEING PROBED BY U.S. JUSTICE DEPT AND SEC
[WASH. D.C.] U.S. Sen. Richard Burr is staring down the barrel of more than just a Senate ethic investigation per allegations that he cashed in $1.7 million worth of stock right before the COVID-19 stock market crash in February, based on classified government information. Published reports now say Burr, who leaves office in 2022, is being probed by the U.S. Justice Dept., and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Burr has countered that his stock trees were solely based on public information, but a tape of an address he gave to wealthy donors contradicts that claim. Burr has been urged to resign.
NC ELECTIONS BOARD MAY MAKE ELECTION DAY A HOLIDAY
[RALEIGH] Last week the NC Board of Elections agreed to recommend to the NC General Assembly several changes to election law in light of the COVID-19 crisis. One of the changes suggested is to make the Nov. 3rd General Election Day a state holiday, which would expand the pool of potential Election Day volunteers from the elderly, to students and teachers. Lawmakers said they will consider the list.