Medical bills and claim denials were thrown into the fire Saturday, Dec. 12, in West Asheville Park.
“It’s very personal for me,” Elsa Enstrom said.
She attended the "Bill Burn" rally, in support of Medicare for All, to show her support for changing America’s healthcare system.
She called herself one of the lucky ones, because she has health insurance through her job, but she said someone close to her does not.
“My boyfriend has been uninsured since he turned 18, and he works his butt off, and he can’t even afford insurance through the Affordable Care Act,” Enstrom said.
Several others shared similar stories about themselves or loved ones who could not afford to pay off medical bills related to dental work, mental health and even cancer treatment.
“There is a health crisis in North Carolina and across the country right now where millions of people are uninsured and even more are underinsured, which means even though they have insurance on paper, they still can’t afford to get the care and prescription drugs that they need,” Asheville Democratic Socialists of America Andy Paul said.
Paul is part of the North Carolina Medicare for All coalition (NCM4A).
He said NCM4A organized the rally out of support for not only Medicare, but all bills that Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Pamila Jayapal introduced in the House and Senate last year.
They are pushing for no medical bills, no copays and no deductibles.
“We spend more money than any other country in the developed world, and yet we have some of the worst health outcomes of any industrialized nation,” Paul said.
Enstrom said until healthcare becomes obtainable for everyone, Americans will continue to feel the same anxiety she feels for her boyfriend’s health.
“Who knows what is going on with his body. He hasn’t been to the doctors in 10 years,” Enstrom said.
Many who attended the rally wrote post cards that will be sent to senators and local representatives.
The Asheville rally was one of three "bill burn" events that the N.C. Medicare for All coalition (NCM4A) has organized throughout the state.