Healthcare is one of the few growing segments of the American job market. There are real economists with lots of papers from fancy places on their walls who will tell you that Healthcare is the only segment of the American job market that still has decent middle-class wage-earning growth in it for the average American worker.
Unfortunately, Healthcare is also the biggest growing domestic crisis, and very few in political leadership want to get serious about fixing it.
Maybe that's because, until it hits a citizen personally, the Healthcare crisis is pretty easy to ignore among the Presidential signing statements, the Torture bills, the Mark Foley's, Kevin Geddings' and Ted Sampley's. Those are all very noisy issues that are very loud when they wreak their special havoc. The Healthcare crisis wreaks it's havoc in private lives, and takes it's toll in smaller places, away from cameras and crowds.
Here in Clayton, the Healthcare crisis hit home with a family of amazing people. Their name is Ansley, and you will be hearing more about them and reading more about them in coming weeks.
Short Story: Not long ago, astronomical medical bills took this middle-class, tax paying, hard working, successful family to the brink of homelessness. They were grossly overbilled, denied a payment plan, and subsequently served with notice that a lien was being placed on their $185,000 home for the satisfaction of a million dollar medical bill.
The Ansley's, after a long hard maddening fight, had their problem resolved in the State Attorney General's office. But that is not where they are willing to let the issue rest. They know there are others like them who were in, are in, and will be in the same painful spot.
Unfortunately, the Ansley's have found some lawmakers deaf to their push for change. It seems the Republican "family values party" fully supports the state's right to take a man's home because he made the personal choice to seek and accept extraordinary medical treatment so he could live, rather than leave the hospital and give up and die. [I don't have a Theology degree, but in my humble opinion, I don't really think having BAD values qualifies a party to claim that they have "family values". ] In fact, the Ansley's were asked to remain "graciously silent" about the bigger issue by their powerful Republican state representatives.
Nice, huh? The very people who's job it is to take notice and take action to fix bad laws, can muster little more than a short shoulder shrug and an "Ifeelsorryfor'em-whatareyagonnado" attitude.
As you can imagine, the request to take for themselves and be silent about the underlying bad law (they finally had their debt forgiven, but nothing was done to change the law) didn't really set too well with the Ansley's and their family. These are a group of good, salt-of-the-earth people who take their christian charge to "love thy neighbor as thyself" seriously. The Ansley's want to see " a common good" come out of their trials. They have nothing to gain from their continued fight. They just don't want to see anything like this happen to anyone else.
The law that requires a state run hospital to go after primary residences, and allows others to go after primary residences to satisfy medically incurred extraordinary debt is wrong. They want to change the law. Go to their blog, read their story, and sign the petition supporting the NC Medical Protection Act.
Here is where we meet the Ansley's. But the whole story is deeper and wider and scarier and more heartening and more powerful than where they are now. This is the beginning of that story.