Event: Transition Town talks about Local Health Care options
As someone who pays for my family’s health care out of pocket – this event hits particularly close to home.
Transition Town Media is hosting a potluck tonight to discuss Local Health Care Options.What that means is likely up to the group and the transition town leadership, but my hope is that one option discussed will be on setting up local health care cooperatives.
Before I get into it, details from their flyer:
- When: Tonight Tuesday February 28th, 6-9PM
- Who: Everyone!
- Where: Media Community Center, 301 N Jackson St.
We’ll start with a short business meeting at 6 – Everyone is welcome to attend and hear what projects we’re working on. The potluck will start at 6:30 and we’ll start the discussion at 7pm Come hear your neighbors’ ideas and let us know what you think.
Help us weave together a stronger community!
Bring a dish to share or just come for the discussion at 7.
Where the power lies with healthcare
“I can’t stand my boss but I can’t quit because I’d lose my healthcare.”
Sound familiar? Corporations spend a lot of money on their employees healthcare, and for good reason. The exact situation above keeps employees working in their job, coming back for more, and working in less-than-ideal conditions because they do not want to lose that benefit.
In short, it helps the corporation by keeping, attracting, and retaining employees.
For those that are self-employed or run small businesses, the cost of attracting good employees and providing health care for them is expensive, generally, and a company needs to be a certain size (usually more than 25 employees) to get discounts with larger health care providers. Even so, each employee can cost from $500 to $1200 per month in health care costs, depending on “pre-existing conditions” and their family needs.
A community alternative
If you think about what insurance provides, it’s an agreement that we all put our “health insruance” money monthly into a large pool and then trust the insurance company to keep us healthy. If you use Media as a sample and assume that 5000 residents all pay $500 per month to an insurance pool that would be $2.5M in medical costs per month, and $300M in medical costs per year. For the town. Given that we pave the roads and provide a top-notch police department and public services for less than $9M per year, you get a sense of scale here.
Problem is that we (supposedly) trust the insurance companies to pay out when people get sick, and to follow their policies. The problem is that while many insurance companies do provide good insurance, there are many who are focused on the bottom-line: profit. Profit is a motivating factor which is contradictory to keeping people healthy.
As an entrepreneur and a business person, I have long dreamed of putting together a local health insurance option and bypassing the larger corporations. I currently have a high-deductible plan which means we pay around $8000 per year for health insurance and then out-of-pocket for everything, pretty much. It’s discouraging, to say the least. (We do have coverage if something tragic happens ….)
There are examples of this being done in other communities:
- Health Insurance Cooperative on Wikipedia
- New York Times on Health Insurance Co-op
- Montana cooperative
If you are self-employed, or in a job where you can’t leave because you will lose coverage, then I’d highly suggest you attend this meeting.