While there is some disagreement as to the exact number of folks without health insurance, the number most commonly bandied about is 45 million. And, of course, this is a “fluid” number in that, in any given month, it is not the same 45 million. And, of further course, absence of health insurance does not equate with absence of health care. Nonetheless, this is a serious problem, and merits serious consideration. While our politicos – elected and otherwise – jockey for position(s) on addressing the problem, a disparate group of organizations, companies, and institutions have been meeting to brainstorm from a more broad-based perspective.
So, who makes up this broad-based collation? You may be surprised:
“(R)epresentatives of trade and professional groups, such as the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association; labor organizations, such as the A.F.L.-C.I.O. and the Service Employees International Union; business groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; industry interests, such as the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and Johnson & Johnson; government alliances, such as the National Conference of State Legislatures and National Governors Association; and political-advocacy groups, such as the liberal Families USA and the conservative Heritage Foundation.”
Representatives of these groups have been meeting since last October and, not surprisingly, haven’t yet solved the problem. But at least they’re trying.
What’s promising here is that these groups recognize that simply pointing the finger of blame solves very little; indeed, the fact that there is cooperation from both the private and public sectors may be what finally resolves many of the underlying issues.
An encouraging sign is that “(T)he group is leaning toward incremental solutions…an approach that might disappoint purists on the political left and right. But increments -- substantive increments -- offer the best short-term hope for progress at a time when partisan dissension, especially in Washington, has caused political paralysis on health care.” Couldn’t have said it better m’self.
This effort is only about 6 months or so old, so it’ll be interesting to see what, if any, recommendations are forthcoming. As a fan of the free-market, I would prefer to see solutions coming from broad-based coalitions such as this, as opposed to some monster thought up by our political class.
We shall see.