We love bringing you news of innovators in healthcare, like this PA clinic or that project to encourage collaboration. Another story about an innovative initiative raised some questions for us, however.
The New York Times covered the trend of religiously oriented groups organizing health "networks" in which members contribute payments to cover each other's health expenses. As health insurance has become federally mandated, these groups are complying with federal law, but in a way that feels personal, affordable, and enables them to circumnavigate pieces of the law that don't align with their values.
We get excited when we hear about projects like this. We firmly believe that when regular people get more involved in their healthcare, we all win. Plus, we leap for joy whenever a small group of people find a way for common sense to win out over healthcare madness. It's pretty fantastic that when Erica Beiler gave birth, her expenses were covered and members even sent extra money to help welcome the baby into the world.
That said, we could never -- as people or as providers -- support the network since things like medical care to gay folks and treatment for STDs aren't covered. It's certainly not a system that aligns with our ethics. Plus, the networks are unregulated, often have a lifetime maximum payout, and there may not be enough money on hand in a given month to cover all eventualities.
Be that as it may, we still are happy to shine a spotlight on a small group of people doing something, taking action, to make the medical system work for them. You may not be a patient or provider that would take part in a network with these parameters, but it does raise the question: how are we taking action, today, to make the medical system work better? How might we take matters into our own hands?
We believe medical collaboration is one easy, fun way to change the healthcare system. Give it a try for free:
Image courtesy of holtsman on Flickr, used under Creative Commons rights.