Saturday, August 1, 2009

Healthcare Co-ops - The Third Option

On healthcare, the debate is set on extremes. Do we continue a private healthcare system with EVEN LESS regulation to drive down cost, or do we create public healthcare, either by edict, by government advisory board, or by trojan horse. Is it going to be for-profit businesses, or a theoretically non-profit (though the very nature of democracy would seem to suggest otherwise, the "profit" should be different but equally self-serving) public health board/organization/government corporation/service. But why must it be one or the other?

Why not do for healthcare what groups like the BECU (Boeing Employee Credit Union) have done for banking? Have non-profit heatlh NGO's that sell premiums, administer care, and have their guidelines, procedures, rationing (if any) and exact benefits dictated democratically through the election of "board members" by the people who own the plans? Why must, to avoid for-profit business, we resort to government rationing and tyranny? Why must it be either a corporate beaureacracy or a government beauracracy that manages our care? Why not put it in the hands, to the maximum extent possible, of the premium holders?

People flee countries like Canada and England to nations like the United States that have private healthcare when they become truly sick. Some folks will try to fool you in to believing that our healthcare sector acheives worse results then those of other nations using statistics like life expectancy as indicators. Problem is, those "indicators" are indicative of forces outside of the system, forces like genetics, cultural habits like eating and transportation, and our large immigrant population, that affect life expectancy by way of the entire general public more then the occasional cancer victim. Fact of the matter is, most Americans (85% insured in 2006, US Census, probably dropped a little since then but likely [unemployment 4% -> 10%, 6% change] still above 75%) do very well under our current system, and because of existing regulations, if you have the insuracne, most things will be covered.

Now I understand the problem of the other 25%, and yes, we do need competition for the corporations to bring prices down and hold them accountable. But why does it have to be the almost always tyrannical hand of government? Why not more charitable, credit union type organizations, that can still receive some government start-up funds to compensate for their lack of size (just as the BECU received funds from Boeing) and then be governed not by some far away beaureacrat but instead by the very people who hold the plans? And if you're not pleased with your group, you can find a new coop. We could have a different coop for every kind of need!


Atlanta Politics Online said...


Can you email me at I'd like to talk to you about covering Fukton County for our groupblog.

Atlanta Politics Online said...

I meant Fulton- sorry!