It’s Not Just about Healthcare…

All this talk about Health 2.0/ Web 2.0 and the wisdom of crowds has got me noticing things I probably would not have noticed before. For that reason I am directing readers to the following article by Craig Morris at truthout ( It’s an interesting read about the environment, and alternative energy sources in and of itself. But there is more to it than that. In it, we are again reminded about the importance of communities and collective wisdom in every sector of our society. This is but one example completely outside of the health care sector. In the energy business, some countries are fostering local control, activism and (literally) power to the people instead of power to the corporations.

From Morris’ article

“…German communities often come together to put up a handful of wind turbines, often on farms, funded by citizen co-ops. In the US, if wind farms are installed on farmland, chances are that a company like John Deere funds the operation because only a profitable corporation can take full advantage of the tax credit. Americans have a hard time investing directly in wind as Germans do because corporations, not communities, decide where wind turbines are put up in the US.”

Are there parts of this statement that sound a lot like what we have been discussing? Of course there are! The corporations in question are the large provider networks and the payers. In our American health care sector it is corporations that control where and how services are provided, not the patients. As e-patients, we can learn a lot from the work of the Germans with regard to energy. Think of our online communities as “citizen co-ops” atempting to provide information and services were payers and corporate healthcare have been unable or unwilling to tread. Most importantly, think about the political, financial and even cultural changes that must take place in America before we can begin to level the playing field between patients and corporate health care.


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One Response to “It’s Not Just about Healthcare…”

  1. e-Patient Dave says:

    [This is the first time I’ve tried to post a comment on a TypeKey-based blog, and Preview suggests this is going to be one huge paragraph – let’s hope it’s not.]

    Well, it’s me again – I didn’t come here to talk about power, but I guess there’s no escaping it – that’s what’s at the root of this, isn’t it? Who gets to run things, whose needs get priority?

    Pleased to meet you, Dr. Dan. You mentioned power to the people, vs corporations. A few years ago I helped edit a book on the history of the “corporate personhood” issue, and I ended up in the Smithsonian, where I actually handled a handwritten note from the Chief Justice in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, the root of the doctrine that corporations are persons under the law. On that piece of paper, the Chief Justice wrote to the Court Reporter, “I leave it with you to determine whether anything need be said about it in the report inasmuch as we avoided meeting the Constitutional question in the decision.”

    In the case in question, railroads were suing (for the nth time in 20 years) for the right to be considered humans subject to the protections of the Bill of Rights. The Court decided the issue on a much lesser point, not ruling on the personhood issue.

    But what did the reporter write into the law books? “The defendant Corporations are persons…”

    And what was the background of this reporter, J. C. Bancroft Davis? Why, he was a former railroad president himself.

    The ironic thing about this is that the Bill of Rights was intended to protect the little guy from concentrated power (e.g. the King of England), but some of these “persons” now have a million times more power than thee and me, yet they now get to sue for free speech protections, e.g. Nike’s suit a few years ago for the right to lie, and Fox News’s victory not long ago where they were granted the right to order their investigative reporters to lie or be fired.

    When you consider that, it’s not hard to see how it leads to governmental processes that don’t lead to effective policies, even in the land of government for the people.

    –You know, none of this would have come up if it weren’t for that mention of CMPI the other day. I was just here to talk about encouraging people to gather their own information. It just ticks me off when anyone powerful (individual or otherwise) gets in the way of people doing that. Life, liberty and the purfuit of happinefs!

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