A process is needed to resolve insurance disputes

To the editor:

The balance of power between patients, doctors and big insurance companies is completely out of control. The insurers call all the shots.

They decide what’s “in-network” and “out-of-network,” what’s covered and isn’t, and how much they’ll reimburse patients, doctors and hospitals.

The less insurance companies cover and pay, the more money they make. It’s that simple. That’s why we’ve seen such a spike in surprise medical billing.

Insurers are sticking patients with the bill rather than reimbursing care by “out of network” hospitals and doctors. Patients are being threatened with medical bankruptcy by companies making record profits.

Congress had a chance to get surprise medical fixed before the end of 2019, but unfortunately they couldn’t agree on a solution. In rural areas like Western North Carolina, patients have fewer options.

An easy and fair fix is to require insurance companies to work through an independent dispute resolution process with medical providers. It leaves patients out of the middle and lets them focus on getting the care they need. I urge Senator Tillis to check it out. IDR is working in New York and Texas and it can work in North Carolina too.

Cree Hurt

Maggie Valley

Rule of law must be continued

To the editor:

However one leans politically, the current influence of the Office of President over the Department of Justice should give pause for concern about the future of our republic. I am not a legal scholar, but I believe that the rule of law in America is what has made us stand out from the rest of the world.

As a child here in Haywood County, I would attend court in the historic Haywood County Courthouse, pulling prospective jurist names out of a hat for Clerk of Court J.B. Siler.

Most impressive through those child’s eyes was the depiction of Lady Justice along with the Ten Commandments on the wall behind the Judge.

Through my Naval service, I had the opportunity to see how the citizens of countries of more than a few forms of government would have benefited from the ideal that that Lady Justice represented.

Whether in Europe or Vietnam, the thumb of corruption weighed heavily on everyone’s life. What was obvious to me was that the lower one’s position on the socioeconomic scale one was, the greater the impact on everyday life and one’s loved ones.

Things simply didn’t get done unless the “palm was greased,” either literally or figuratively. These were not places where one wanted to be sideways with politicians.

Surely, we are not perfect, but it seems to me we have always been working to improve and uphold the ideal that is America. The rule of law matters, and our citizens and those who are burdened with the responsibility of enforcing those laws should know that politicians can’t put their thumb on the scale. To ignore this threat endangers our very existence.

Ron Morrow

Lake Junaluska

Support Smith

To the editor:

State Senator Erica Smith has a proven record of protecting the rights of women and advocating for children since her election to the NC General Assembly in 2014.

She has sponsored legislation to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and much more. An educator and engineer, Senator Smith has the intelligence and experience to restore the damage inflicted by Secretary DeVos’ policies to our country’s critical public education system.

Smith outpaces others in actions taken for equal justice and should replace Tillis this November. We will benefit by her leadership in the U.S. Senate. State Senator Erica Smith deserves our vote on March 3.

Susan Kumpf


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