Health Plan Alternatives for Churches: “All Things in Common”

I’ve heard enough negativity about health care recently.  As well as enough confusion.  I like to hear positives ideas and weigh them.  I’ll try to do that today.

Ever heard of a health co-op?  I thank friend and yet-to-be blogger Trae Bailey for showing this to me:
The Health Co-Op

To some, it might sound too good to be true, but why is that?  If the new health bill sounds too good to be true to you, then you’re probably searching for alternatives.  You probably wish you had some already, if you’re like me.  If you’re fine with what you have now, it’s most likely because you are middle class or above, and/or have slim to no health issues.  Almost forgot to stay positive there for a second.  Anyway…

A healthcare co-op can sort of be compared to how a credit union works in contrast with a bank.  Most co-ops are merely insurance carriers.  There’s one called HealthPartners, based in Minnesota, that also provides care as well as insurance.  Considering that one of the common contentions with the new healthcare bill is the government acting as a third party between patients and doctors, or really like a fourth party if you include insurance providers as a third party, a co-op like this cuts out the “middle man” in favor of the “little man”.  HealthPartners serves more than a million members, and it’s growing.  They’re run by a board of directors elected by members who have health plans.  Like a credit union, it’s nearly everything that socialized healthcare is, only not government run, which means it’s not centralized, mandated, or limited.

So my first question for readers is this: What do you think of such an idea?  What if churches, for example, elected to enter into congregational plans, pooling their resources and “having all things in common” with their health resources as well as others we often share?

Along with such a cooperative effort and providing care, we also want to provide an example to the world of what healthy living and healthy care is.  I give thanks to friend and blogger Jmar for showing this to me (his blog can be found here).

For a while I was familiar with Communitarianism, and still am only acquainted.  No, it’s not exactly communism meets libertarianism, but if you thought that you might be warm.  Communitarians are devoted to the following:

“Fostering a greater sense of personal and social responsibility among individual citizens; to strengthening the cohesion of families and local communities; to encouraging reconciliation among different racial, ethnic, and religious groups; and to fostering a national policy debate more cognizant of humankind’s moral horizon and the social responsibilities of the individual and the community. Its aim is to contribute to effective solutions, derived from democratic dialogue, through a careful elucidation of alternative policies and competing models of social conduct in light of their moral implications and their likely practical consequences for family and community life.”

So, you could look at this idea of being “communitarian” as more of an adjective than a noun, as you may find yourself believing in these principles in general before you heard about this.  It can play out to be more of a set of shared goals than a description of a single group.

In the link below is described a Communitarian approach to Healthcare Reform.

The Approach in full text

If you don’t have the time to read it, here are some highlights.
“Let us not turn the health-care community into a health industry:
*Sustain the balance between individual rights and social responsibilities
*Warn against the intrusion of commercialism and the managerial imperative
*Preventing disease and promoting health are an integral part of the plan, not afterthoughts.
*We must not treat health care as the social garbage can into which we deposit the ill consequences of our nations problems.
*Cut administrative waste, defensive medicine, lavish promotions and excessive profits before rationing health services.
*Serve the children first [and I would include the yet-to-be-born].”

So, my second question is this: What do you think of these principles, especially applied to adopting a health co-op plan, either as a “nuclear” family as well as a “spiritual” family (church)?  I would like to hear your input on these ideas, especially from those who work with or are economists, doctors, etc.

And if you don’t think health care is important, let this kid persuade you.
You Know What He Did?

3 responses to “Health Plan Alternatives for Churches: “All Things in Common”

  1. I would agree that this is an idea whose time has truly come. Jesus said that we are to be a city on a hill, that the world is to see the good we do and honor God on account of it (Matt. 5.13-16). Unfortunately, ever since the Civil Rights Movement, the Church has been reactionary, lagging behind the world, instead of setting the example. Churches participating in healthcare alternatives such as what you recommend here could prove to be a city on a hill event, where the world sees and has good reason to glorify God. Kudos, Caleb.

  2. Pingback: Electing Faithfulness Part 7: Consult Your Doctor—The Health Care Issue | CALEB COY

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