Midlands Voices: Let’s use strategic collaboration to boost rural health care | Columnists


America’s health care system is not working for all Americans, especially those who live in rural areas. We believe there are two core issues that have kept us stuck in a rut.

One of these issues is summed up by Bill Gross, founder of Idealab: “You can try to persuade people to care about issues, but the only way you’re going to get huge change is if you save them money.”

Another is summarized by John Stone, Deere and Co. president: “For John Deere to realize our vision, innovation has to be there. And it has to be empowered, encouraged, invested in and cultivated.”

Health care in America is stuck because it is not saving people money, and it does not encourage innovation, especially in rural areas.

Citizens are not able to spend less for health care. Any systemic savings are going to stockholders in major, vertically integrated health care systems. Rural Americans have had to become very creative in order to afford even some semblance of basic health care. They are trying to do a better job of keeping themselves healthy, but where can they easily find unbiased information? They can search the Internet, but many lack the quality, affordable broadband necessary to do that research.

Communities who want to invest in a health care system often cannot find necessary financing. Local and regional cooperatives to address health and health care may be one answer. But that requires both local and outside investment to expand educational resources by expanding quality broadband access in rural areas.

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