08/03/09 — Chamber, experts will talk health care in September

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Chamber, experts will talk health care in September

By Laura Collins
Published in News on August 3, 2009 1:46 PM

Local businesses and community members will have the opportunity to learn more about the health care debate first hand next month.

The Wayne County Chamber of Commerce will present its second State of the Community program at 8 a.m. on Sept. 17 at Wayne Memorial Hospital.

The program is the final installment in a series of gatherings to discuss topics that affect local businesses.

Steve Hicks, executive director, said the program is ideal for small business owners as well as individuals.

"One of the most important issues businesses and people are facing today is health care. The cost of health care is extreme," he said. "Here in Goldsboro, Wayne County, it's important for the business community to do everything it can to provide health care to its employees. This program lets our local community understand health care from a local perspective."

The program will feature panel presentations from Dr. David Tayloe, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics; Dr. Jim Stackhouse, board member and treasurer of the American College of Physicians; Lanier Cansler, North Carolina Secretary of Health and Human Services; and Barbara Morales-Burke, vice president of Health Policy of BCBSNC.

Hicks said he is excited to have presidents of national medical organizations as a resource for Goldsboro.

"There's going to be a lot said about the state government, as well as federal government, concerning health care issues to help us learn what we can do as individuals to help the situation. We will also have the insight of the insurance aspect as well," he said.

Hicks said health care is an important topic affecting many business owners and employees in Wayne County.

"I think we'd all be surprised about the number of people who do not have health care in the area," he said. "It's probably higher than you think. If you're working for government entities and larger employers, you have insurance, but I think the majority of small businesses cannot afford to provide total health care. In a lagging economy, one of the first things that small businesses focus on is benefits packages. That is unfortunately sometimes the first things that get cut."

Registration for the event is $10 per person and seating is limited to only the first 75 people. To register contact the chamber at 919-734-2241 or www.waynecounty chamber.com.