Daily Archive for June 04 2010
The story below appeared in today’s Charleston Daily Mail.
By George Hohmann
Daily Mail Business Editor
Dr. Nancy Nielsen, the immediate past president of the American Medical Association, says the health care debate certainly included the good, bad and ugly, but she said it’s now time for the nation to come together – like West Virginians did following the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster.
The Elkins native was the keynote speaker Thursday at the Charleston Area Alliance’s annual celebration at the Clay Center.
“The vast majority of the people in this country without health insurance are workers,” she said. “It’s not because they choose to not have insurance. It’s because they can’t afford it.”
Thirty-two million people who don’t have health insurance will have it as a result of the new law, and more people will be covered under Medicaid, Nielsen said. Small employers who offer health insurance to their workers will be eligible for tax credits.
“Those are some of the good things” in the law, she said. “I hope we can lay down arms and work with each other.”
Everyone is worried about costs and rightly so, she said. “We’re spending 17 percent of our gross domestic product on health care. Health care is making us globally non-competitive.”
It’s time “to do what we need to do to address personal responsibility” regarding smoking, alcohol and obesity, she said.
The American Medical Association is the largest medical association in America.
Nielsen also talked about growing up in Elkins, where “the horizon was narrow and dreams were sparse.” She credited the library and books for “opening the world to me” and said a teacher, Mrs. McDonald, changed her life by forcing her to join the high school debate team.
Nielsen spoke after Matt Ballard, president and chief executive officer of the Alliance, noted that Jack Rossi, chairman of the alliance since its creation in 2004, will step down in December.
Rossi said, “It’s easy to be successful when you have the right team, and, boy, do we have the right team.”
Earlier in the evening 2010 College Summit scholarships were presented to Larissa Adams of Sissonville High School, Attaya Green of Capital High School and Chelsi Griffith of South Charleston High School. Adam Cooper of Nitro High School, who also is a scholarship recipient, was absent.
Each student receives a Dell laptop computer and a $2,000 scholarship.
Three of the scholarships were sponsored by the Maier Foundation, and one was sponsored by Generation Charleston, the Alliance’s organization for up-and-coming community leaders.
The Alliance was created with the merger of the Charleston Chamber of Commerce, Charleston Renaissance Corp. and the Business & Industrial Development Corp.
Ballard said that since it was formed the Alliance has been instrumental in attracting investments totaling $600 million and the creation of more than 4,000 jobs.
The Alliance has 600 members who in turn have 40,000 employees, Ballard said. More than 90 percent of the Alliance’s funding comes from private sources, he said.