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Updated: Sep 1, 2020

noun: 1. the state of being united or joined as a whole

We continue to hear “we’re all in this together” on TV, social media, or even the packaging of items you purchase at the store. I get that it sounds like a cheesy concept, but cheese aside, is there anything about that statement that’s false? Just how much of our lives truly exist in a proverbial vacuum, versus how much is interconnected to our fellow man? Honestly, not much. I’m 94.6% confident that I can find the ripple effect in anything thought to occur in a vacuum. Regardless, I’m going to choose the path of basicness, and write about the topic every other man, woman and their mothers are discussing. COVID. But hear me out, in this article the topic of ‘COVID’ serves as a vehicle to a parallel concept; COVID mirroring our healthcare system, and the necessary path we must take to reform health insurance today. But, first a quick little, maybe boring-ish history lesson on health insurance…mostly for posterity.


Health insurance, as we know it today, didn’t happen overnight during an executive round table meeting. It was the natural progression of a pre-paid type of arrangement that hospitals would offer, starting in the 1920s. And prior to that access to healthcare was profession, or industry based. Such as with the soldiers who fought in the civil war. Really, who doesn’t love Abraham Lincoln? Don’t answer, that’s rhetorical. Other professionals, such as miners, and lumber mill workers had this access to industrial clinics too. And eventually “accident” policies would be sold as a pre-industrial form of “job benefits.” Small clinics and medical house calls continued to function, but about 38 years into the future, America experienced a new environment for healthcare -- the advent of hospitals. As a result, medical care costs understandably began to rise; not only did the doctors need to be paid for their time and supplies, but newly included in the fee were hospital running costs. Hey, that overpriced salad bar isn’t going to pay for itself. In comes the dreaded medical debt of doom affecting patients, and unpaid patient bills affecting hospitals.

You’re probably wondering what any of this has to do with unity. Get to the point already! I know, I know, I am. You see, this problem required a solution that couldn’t be found on either side alone. Problems don’t occur in a bell jar, and neither does resolution. When we leave affected people out of the solution, we eventually find ourselves with a new problem. Do you see where I’m going with this yet? I promise I’ll be wrapping up this section soon!

Truth be told, the employer health coverage plan you may be opted into, informally, took shape in the late 1800s after employers in dangerous trades realized that sick and hurt workers were bad for their bottom line, typical. So doctors were paid by the employers to care for the employees. However, the health insurance industry earnestly began after WW1, with a teacher’s union and the Baylor hospital in Dallas, who thought to resolve both high medical bills and the hospital’s financial loss by coming together. The teachers paid a monthly fee to the Baylor -> Baylor was able to build a reserve -> future services would be accessible to any teachers taking part in the program in the event that they need them -> Baylor could operate without falling into the red. Wait, that sort of resembles socialism, no? Looks like it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. And sort of irrelevant, but something I’d like to bask in a bit -- their payments, wait for it….50 cents! Oh, the olden days….I can’t even buy a bookmark with this much! Okay, in all fairness 50 cents meant a lot more then than it does now, but hey, I can still fantasize. Healthcare access to patients – check. Hospitals able to fill beds, get paid and keep the lights on – check. This lightbulb moment occurred when it was realized that working together yielded better results than working alone. A joint effort provided a resolution. And all this incredibly long winded mumble jumble is say, how many problems do we face today, that can be solved together? Now to the point of my point.


I’d like to give a little context to the discussion of health insurance in America and explain why we all should care about the topic, in one way or another. Talk of COVID incites new conversations on how we view insurance. We have a pretty gnarly virus spreading across the entire world, a virus introduced through no fault of those falling ill. Provided no extenuating circumstances surface, those with health insurance can get the care they need, yet those without health insurance can what exactly? Visit SOL creek? Mind boggling, since the uninsured are just as blameless with COVID as the insured.

Pre-COVID, a time that now seem to be fading more and more into our distant memory, health insurance was still, visibly, a major problem. At the point when the U.S. began seeing critical issues with health insurance (as late as the 1960s), just about every presidential administration since Nixon had at least addressed it, if